TLC center needs to fill 1,000 more buckets with love

Published 8:52 am Thursday, November 20, 2014

NW1126 Buckets of Love A 4x5

A new program designed to help the less fortunate in Carter County is calling on the community for some last-minute assistance in reaching its goal.
Buckets of Love, part of the TLC Community Center’s Project Hometown, wants to collect 1,500 buckets filled with toys and personal items to distribute to children in the county. So far, the center has collected only about 500 to be distributed Nov. 29, center director Angie Odom said.
“We set our goal at 1,500 because we knew what the need was on our food routes, and we knew what the schools told us was needed,” she said.
The buckets will be distributed to children who are clients of the Summer Food Program ­– students the school systems have recommended based on observed need and children whose parents are in the Carter County Jail.
“This is the 11th year we have reached out to children whose parents are incarcerated,” Odom said.
Because the goal was not reached, Odom has extended the donation deadline until 4:30 p.m. Dec. 2 to collect more supplies to fill the buckets. Items needed include shampoo, soap, toothbrushes and toothpaste, washcloths or loofahs, gloves, hats, socks, school supplies and small toys.
“I hope and I believe that we will meet our goal,” she said. “We were going to cut it off earlier, but we didn’t hit what we needed.”
The center has received a large supply of pencils and no longer needed those, Odom said. Toys should be gender-neutral and appropriate for any school-age child.
While working to collect more items, the center will distribute some of the collected buckets as scheduled with the faith that the remaining need will be met, Odom said.
The center will distribute 100 buckets to children in Roan Mountain at a dinner there, then on Nov. 29, it will give close to 430 buckets to children who received help through the Summer Food Program.
The main event will be a communitywide Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner Dec. 4, during which Odom hopes to distribute about 1,000 buckets, which will include those given to the children with parents in the Carter County jail.
Being able to distribute all of those buckets depends on gathering enough donations to fill the need.
“I would like to encourage everyone to band together to meet this local need,” she said.
Odom was inspired to start the Buckets of Love project after meeting needy children on the food truck route. She fashioned the project in a way similar to the Samaritan’s Purse Christmas Box program.
“There is so much focus on what is needed overseas, and that is okay because there is a need,” Odom said. “But there is a need here too. We have kids here who do not have the basic supplies to get ready for school on a daily basis.”
The Buckets of Love is the first phase of Project Hometown, which will announce its next project at the start of the new year, Odom said.
“I would like for there to be a commitment to help our hometown,” she said. “We need to make our hometown a project. If we did, we could meet so many needs that are in the community.”
Drop off items for the buckets at the TLC Center, 145 Don M. Lewis Road; JB’s Burgers and Ice Cream, 547 Highway 91; Big John’s Closeouts, 238 E. Elk Ave., and the Elizabethton/Carter County Public Library, 201 N. Sycamore St.
Odom is also accepting volunteers for the week of Nov. 24 to help assemble the buckets.
For more information, call Odom at 895-8601.

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