Local youth partner with library to meet community need
Published 9:14 am Wednesday, April 20, 2016
The youth of Roan Street Freewill Baptist Church were taking prayer requests during children’s church when one boy mentioned he wanted to help those around him that couldn’t help themselves.
Sandy Lyons, children’s church coordinator, said the kids wanted to “plan a project to show God’s love to everyone,” and it evolved into a church-wide project. “Every member brought one or two items and we had enough to fill 17 bags,” said Lyons.
They group delivered the bags filled with snacks, socks and cleaning wipes to the Elizabethton/Carter County Public Library Monday. In addition, they delivered several bags to the Day Center in Johnson City, before learning that the library was holding a drive to donate hygiene bags to homeless residents.
Emily Lyons, a current student in the Department of Social Work at ETSU said, “Kids see a lot. They are so much more perceptive to things that adults often miss.”
The kids that delivered the bags are Lucas Greenwell, Rory Green, Katie Markland, Nicholas Markland, and Jackson Stout.
The library project to gather the bags was inspired by a project already in place by the Appalachian Regional Commission on Homelessness (ARCH).
ARCH hosted a regional homeless count in January and its staff visited the library.
“We were excited to receive bags to distribute to those in need,” said Cheri Tinney, the library’s community resource specialist. “As we looked through the bags, we were overwhelmed with gratefulness and appreciation, but felt that we could ask our community to join in and add additional items to the bags.”
She said the response was beautiful, with patrons bringing in nutritious snacks, winter clothing and hygiene products.
“Our social work intern, Anna Wood, partnered with staff to bring new life to a once unused space in the library to create a Community Caring Closet as part of the library’s new ‘CULTIVATING COMMUNITY Initiative,’” Tinney said.
She said although this display is temporary, the need is ongoing.
“We will continue collecting items indefinitely,” she said.
For more information, contact Tinney at 423-547-6360.