Chamber’s 2018 Annual Membership Luncheon

By:  Matthew Christian, Morning News

A speech given Thursday by former S.C. Gov. David Beasley at the Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce’s 2018 Annual Membership Luncheon inspired an anonymous donor to help start a fund in Beasley’s honor.

Sarah Shelley, the executive director of the Eastern Carolina Community Foundation, said Thursday afternoon that the donor was so inspired by Beasley’s description of his work as executive director of the United Nations World Food Program that after the speeches and ceremonies ended, she was approached by the donor.

Beasley was appointed to the food program in 2017 after being nominated by Nikki Haley, the current ambassador to the United Nations and also a former governor of South Carolina.

The donor asked if the foundation could do something, and Shelley was able to get it done.

“The donor was struck by how so little can help so many,” Shelley said.

In his speech, Beasley said it took less than 50 cents to feed a person a single meal. Children can be fed with approximately 25 cents.

Shelley added that the donor hadn’t previously considered the connection between international security and food security, the ability of individuals to access food, that Beasley spoke of in his speech to those attending the luncheon.

Beasley described conversations with mothers who said their husbands joined organizations classified by the United States as terroristic as a way of providing food for their families. With food provided by the food program, the recruiting tactics of those organizations are lowered.

He also mentioned that food-security problems cause many people in the Sahel, the transition zone between the Sahara Desert and the rainforests of southern Africa, to leave their homelands in search of better opportunities in Europe. Organizations classified as terroristic by the United States can use these migrations to enter those areas as well. With no migrations, the likelihood of an terroristic attack would be lessened.

Shelley also said the donor was inspired by Beasley.

“It shows that we can grow pretty good people here in the Pee Dee,” she said.

Beasley, a Darlington County native, was the governor of South Carolina from 1995 to 1999. Prior to being elected, he served as a member of the South Carolina House of Representatives. After being defeated by Democrat Jim Hodges in 1998, Beasley served as a fellow at the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government and was awarded the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award for his request to the South Carolina General Assembly to remove the Confederate battle flag from the Statehouse. Beasley lost to Jim DeMint in a 2004 Senate election.

He also was a co-incorporator of the Center for Global Strategies.