He's 96 and drives an Olds Cutlass. She's 90 and carries pre-cooked meals to the doors of those in need, stopping to chat as long as she can.

Together, they've put in more than 5,500 hours of volunteering.

Ed and Alyce Quimby are two of the quiet heroes helping to illustrate Philanthropy Week in the Lowcountry, an annual celebration of those who give back.

Sponsored by the non-profit Coastal Community Foundation of the Lowcountry, this sixth consecutive year of Philanthropy Week brings together community organizations and businesses to highlight contributions made to others by others.

"The goal is to have a contagious effect to want to be a part of the effort," Christine Beddia, director of marketing and communications at the Community Foundation, said.

The Charleston area event is different from the national recognition in that it runs for a full week, she said, as opposed to National Philanthropy Day, which is Thursday. Beddia hopes other communities will absorb Charleston's week-long event as their new model.

"We want people to rise up and give back," said Beddia, who added that donating as little as an hour of time or an amount as small as $10 to a cause can make a difference.

The Quimby's fall into the category of those who give often. Since the mid-1980s, the Mount Pleasant couple has spent nearly every Wednesday of their lives delivering food for East Cooper Meals on Wheels. Rain or shine, cold or humid, between nine and 15 people who can't cook for themselves get something to eat that's delivered by hand.

"You're not only delivering a meal," Alyce Quimby said. "You're delivering company."

Some of their clients don't see a person all day "until you're delivering a meal to them," she added.

Both have deep roots in the area. Ed Quimby is a retired truck driver who served in Europe during World War II. Alyce worked previously in The Citadel's administration department. They've been married for almost 70 years.

"I feel good after I do it," Ed Quimby said of driving the couple's assigned route, which covers Sullivan's Island and the Isle of Palms. Their oldest client is 100 years of age.

"I do it for the love of people," Alyce said.

Essay contest

As part of Philanthropy Week, which starts today, the Coastal Community Foundation and The Post and Courier are sponsoring a "Thanks for Giving" essay contest.

The first-place winner will be allowed to designate $2,000 to a local registered 501(c)3 nonprofit or a recognized house of worship, with other cash prizes designated to similar groups for essays that finish in second and third place.

The rules: Write 300 words or less about some aspect of the community that is the result of the generosity of Lowcountry residents and how it has made you thankful during this season of thanks. It could be an individual, an organization or a Lowcountry landmark or feature that embodies generosity.

Winners will be determined by the foundation and The Post and Courier. Judges' decisions are final. Awards are sponsored by South Carolina Bank and Trust.

First Place (1): One winner will be allowed to designate $2,000 to a local registered 501(c)3 nonprofit or a recognized house of worship.

Second Place (1): One winner will be allowed to designate $1,000 to a local registered 501(c)3 nonprofit or a recognized house of worship.

Third Place (4): Four winners each will be allowed to designate $500 to a local registered 501(c)3 nonprofit or a recognized house of worship.

Entries must be received by 5 p.m. Friday. Email submissions to: Christine@CoastalCommunityFoundation.org.

Entry also can be mailed USPS postmarked Nov. 17, or hand-delivered Friday to Coastal Community Foundation offices at 635 Rutledge Ave., Suite 201, Charleston, S.C. 29403 (Attention: Thanks For Giving Essay).

All entries must include complete name and address and a means of contacting the submitter, and the complete name and contact information of a registered 501 (c )3 local, nonprofit or recognized house of worship.

For more information on Lowcountry Philanthropy Week events and ways to get involved, call (843) 723-3635, or go to philanthropyweek.org.