Some 130 clients and 27 Caring Place volunteers came to enjoy the grilled food, face painting, bounce houses, sno-cones, and fellowship with Summer Honors’ students as well as Lee University and Caring Place staff.
A few months ago, Mike Hayes, vice president for Student Development at Lee, heard Reba Terry, executive director for The Caring Place, speak at a meeting.
Hayes asked Terry to tell him something The Caring Place had always wanted to do for their clients but had never been given the opportunity.
Terry reported, “I told him that we had always wanted to host a cookout for our clients where we could just have some fun with them. We wanted to do something nice for them, but we don’t have the space to have anything like that.”
Hayes offered for Lee University to sponsor, plan, and run a block party for The Caring Place to host for clients.
Jill Singerman, special projects assistant at Lee University’s Leonard Center, was placed in charge of the project and worked hard for weeks to plan a wonderful day for everyone involved.
This was more than just a day of fun for Caring Place clients and their families.
Ruby Payne, author of “A Frame Work for Understanding Poverty,” said poverty is painful, with every day a battle against stress, worry, and depression.
The Kids Count Data Center’s 2009 report said 24 percent of the children living in Bradley County live in poverty.
This means 24 percent of the children wake up every morning to another day of many uncertainties. For these children and their families to be given a day free from the worries and stress that they carry was a gift.
The Caring Place works hard every day to remind people they are not alone in their struggle. However, The Caring Place cannot meet all the needs in the area.
Last month The Caring Place saw 1,268 households and distributed 25,360 pounds of food, and that does not measure the spiritual and emotional needs that were met by the staff and volunteers.
Through Lee University sponsoring the Block Party, they joined The Caring Place in the fight against poverty and made a lasting impact on all who attended.
The Caring Place is a Christian nonprofit organization based in Cleveland which focuses on meeting the basic needs of the local poor and disadvantaged.
In 2011, The Caring Place assisted 3,349 different households, provided 172 tons of food and helped 188 homeless households at the hands of more than 130 of its active volunteers.
If you would like to hold a food drive or fundraiser or would like information about The Caring Place, please contact Chelsea Long at 423-472-4414 or Chelsea@thecaringplaceonline.org.