‘Refuge Community Christmas’ to help east kids
by RICK NORTON, Associate Editor
Nov 24, 2010 | 1534 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
“A Refuge Community Christmas,” a holiday campaign to serve Cleveland and Bradley County family clients of the Refuge Community Centre, is accepting toy donations at several area locations, according to Kelli Kyle, associate director of community involvement.

The Refuge Community Centre is one of several partner organizations located within the Blythe Family Support Center operated through the Family Resource Agency.

Toy donations may be dropped off in the “big black barrels” marked with the organization’s name and logo at Big Lots, T.J. Maxx, Children’s Orchard, Asbury United Methodist Church and Lakeview Church of God, Kyle explained.

Monetary donations from which toys will be purchased are also accepted. They may be mailed to The Refuge Community Centre (designate for Refuge Community Christmas), P.O. Box 2553, Cleveland, TN 37320.

“Those wishing to help ‘A Refuge Community Christmas’ may also make their donations through PayPal at our organization’s website,” Kyle said. “The generosity of our donors will be beneficial to many families serviced by the Refuge Community Centre who are experiencing financial distress during this Christmas season.”

The organization’s toy donation event for its clients will be held in the gym of the Blythe Family Support Center.

The Support Center is the home of the former Blythe Avenue Elementary School building. Over the years it has been remodeled and now houses a variety of community and people-service agencies and organizations. Services operating out of the Blythe Family Support Center include the New Hope Pregnancy Center, the Mosaic Center, the BICC (Bradley Initiative for Church & Community) Credit Union, Head Start, a Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland satellite and Circuit Court offices for the 10th Judicial District. All are considered Support Center partners.

According to its website, the Refuge Community Centre offers “ ... resources and life-building tools to individuals and families that, for various reasons, do not have access to life-sustaining necessities.”

Organizational literature and the website point out, “We understand the importance of programs that span multiple areas of need and address social, economic, physical, mental and spiritual concerns. Our goal is not only to address current needs, but also to provide the best possible opportunities for success to those who are willing to work hard to improve their lives and life situations.”

The Refuge Community Centre accomplishes its goals through direct assistance with families and individuals in need, but also by providing referral services to other community resource partners in order to avoid duplication of services.

“We desire to build relationships within the community as we work together with community residents and leaders to identify basic needs and determine appropriate responses,” Kyle explained.

The Refuge Community Centre is intentionally located in the Blythe Family Support Center because this area of East Cleveland has some of the community’s severest needs. The average income level is the lowest in the region. Additionally, Centre staff goes into the surrounding community to promote awareness, provide family support and to create people-service initiatives based on area needs.

The facility’s staff concentrates on access, information and opportunity.

“Information (provided by the Centre) focuses on empowering the individual to achieve stability and sustainabilty in four major areas: health care, housing (includes food and clothing), education and employment,” the website points out. “This demands an ongoing process of networking and relationship-building.”

Kyle pointed out the facility is sometimes overwhelmed with community need because of its East Cleveland target area, but it is “ ... committed to helping men, women and children start new lives by providing multitiered solutions to very complex problems.”

She added, “We understand that issues are often deep-rooted and take years to develop and that time and endurance are the keys to long-term change.”

Additional information about the Refuge Community Centre may be obtained by calling 423-584-5211 or sending an e-mail to contact@therefugecommunity.org. The organization’s website may be accessed at www.therefugecommunity.org.

All donations are tax deductible.