Approximately 16 percent of Bradley County residents live below the poverty level. Many find it difficult to put food on the table daily.
For many decades — beginning in the 1920s, the William Hall Rodgers Christmas Basket Fund has worked to provide a special meal during the Christmas holidays to the needy families of the community.
This year, the fund hopes to continue the tradition and provide more than 1,000 boxes of food items.
This will require the raising of about $28,000, according to Todd Duggan, fund coordinator.
The Basket Fund, which is a 501(c)(3) charity, is volunteer operated and subsidized. It is through the donations of the community that the boxes are filled each year.
The site to register for the boxes has changed. This year, the registration will be held at the Museum Center at Five Points, Duggan said.
He said the new application pickup site is centrally located and easily accessible. Duggan noted his appreciation to First Baptist and Lee University for allowing them to use facilities in the past.
The applications may be picked up between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.
While the effort to provide for the needy began in the early part of the 20th century, it was in the late 1940s the fund was named after William Hall Rodgers. Rodgers, a former Cleveland Daily Banner editor, was a victim of polio. He worked with the Associated Charities to help needy families in the community. When he died, the Bradley County Ministerial Association named the campaign after Rodgers as a tribute to his many efforts on behalf of the people of Bradley County.
There will be several locations in the community at which people may donate, including Cooke’s Food Store and First Tennessee Bank.
The baskets will be delivered on Dec. 22, between 8 and 10 a.m.
Individuals may send donations to First Tennessee Bank, P.O. Box 4880, Cleveland TN 37320-4880 or drop donations off at First Tennessee Bank at 3870 Keith St.
Individuals sending donations to the fund will be recognized in upcoming Cleveland Daily Banner issues.