TLC adds new program filling buckets with basic necessities for children

Published 9:40 am Thursday, August 21, 2014


An old adage says that charity begins at home, and in that spirit a local community service agency has launched a new program with a hometown focus.
Project Hometown – the latest initiative of the TLC Community Center – will focus on meeting the needs of children and will keep that focus local. Angie Odom, the founder and director of the TLC Community Center, announced the project kickoff Monday afternoon.
“It’s about meeting needs in our hometown, in our community,” Odom said, adding there are many individuals in Carter County who are in need of assistance.
The first project that Project Hometown will take on is something Odom calls “Sharing Buckets of Love.” For that program, Odom said, the Center will be filling large paper buckets – like the kind you buy containing fried chicken or movie theater popcorn – with some of the basic necessities children need.
Some Buckets of Love items are personal hygiene items such as shampoo, soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, combs, dental floss, bath sponge or wash cloth and deodorant. She said the buckets will also contain other things such as socks, snacks, school supplies and toys. Odom said each bucket will also contain a note of encouragement to the recipient telling them of God’s love for them.
The buckets will be given out to children in the community who have been identified as having a need.
“We are going to take names from the schools, from bus drivers, from any program that has contact with children,” Odom said.
The Center will accept donations for items to be placed in the buckets from now through Oct. 30, and the buckets will be delivered to children in November.
“We think Thanksgiving would be a good time to deliver these because it is a time to be thankful,” Odom said.
Once donations are received, the Center will package the items into buckets for delivery, Odom said.
“That way we can make sure the items are safe and age-appropriate for the person who will receive the bucket,” she said. “If they don’t have time to get the items they can make a financial donation and we will go get the items.”
She also said the Center would be happy to work with any businesses wanting to make a donation of items or hold a donation drive.
The Elizabethton Star is a sponsor of Project Hometown and will also serve as a drop-off site for donations.
“We are pleased to have the opportunity to work with Mrs. Odom and the TLC Community Center and we’re more than happy to serve as a drop-off location for donated items for this wonderful project,” said Lynn Richardson, president and publisher of the Elizabethton Star.
“All too often, we see the needs of children in faraway countries and fail to realize that we also have many needs right here at home,” Richardson said. “Families are stretched tight trying to make ends meet and in many cases, our local children don’t have some of the most basic things they need. Project Hometown will certainly provide some essential items for Carter County kids who would otherwise have to do without.”
Anyone interested in donating items for the project can drop them off at the TLC Community Center, 145 Judge Don Lewis Blvd., Suite 7; the Elizabethton Star office at 300 N. Sycamore Street; Big John’s Closeouts on 238 East Elk Avenue or JB’s Burgers at 547 Tennessee 91 in Stoney Creek.
Project Hometown will also be expanding the Center’s Summer Food Program. Odom said after seeing the number of children served by the program this year – a daily average of 423 children by the program’s end – the Center has decided to expand the program to run one day per month throughout the year.
Meals will be delivered on the last Tuesday of each month beginning at 5:30 p.m. and will use the same delivery sites that the Summer Food Program served.
The expansion of the food program will make its first delivery on the last Tuesday in September, which is Sept. 30. Odom said the Center is currently looking for volunteers and sponsors for the program.
For more information on Project Hometown or if you would like to make a donation, call Angie Odom at 895-8601.

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