Encouraging All People to Achieve a Better Quality of Life


The Living Water Foundation, formed in 1999, as a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization was initially organized as a charitable fund to assist indigent patients with medications.  Using her executive skills to write the bylaws, a former school principal, Marcia Ballentine, encouraged Dr. Oscar Lovelace, her family physician, to turn the fund into a foundation for the greater benefit of the community. Since then the combined efforts of caring individuals in our community serving as board members or volunteers have allowed the foundation to achieve its simple goal – to improve the quality of life of all people.

The Living Water Foundation (LWF) believes in tackling big public health issues at the community level. A coworker at Lovelace Family Medicine, Renee Martin, had seen serious tobacco related illness in a close family member and agreed to serve as the volunteer executive director of the foundation as it took on its first major task – addressing the toll of tobacco abuse.

With grants from the American Cancer Society, March of Dimes, and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, LWF successfully implemented a smoking prevention and education program at the elementary, middle, and high school level throughout Newberry County.  By simply taking ownership of the problem at the local level, we effectively advocated for stricter tobacco policies in schools for teachers and students and were able to achieve results previously unattainable by state programs.  While certainly not eradicated, youth smoking rates were dramatically decreased. Through continued advocacy work with area municipalities and businesses, many began adopting smoke-free policies to minimize exposure to second-hand smoke for their employees and patrons.

While making strides in reducing smoking rates and increasing smoke-free public places, another public health crisis loomed. It soon became clear that obesity was rising in the ranks to rival, if not surpass, tobacco in annual health care costs associated with chronic disease.  Again, being responsive to the needs of the community the board began brainstorming about ways to make a positive impact. It was during this time the foundation serendipitously received a generous land donation. From there, the seeds for the community garden and wellness park were planted.  Fortunately, the wheels were spinning to create this community asset long before the onset of the COVID 19 Pandemic led to the unemployment and hardships so many currently face.  Our vision is to build a garden to provide healthy food for those in need, a space for our community to work together and eventually an educational facility to promote healthy living.

John  4:13-14:  Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”

1 Comment

  1. joey werts

    So excited to be a part of LWFoundation!

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