TLC Community Center ready to kick off Summer Food Program
Published 9:04 am Tuesday, May 31, 2016
With both city and county schools now out for the summer, the TLC Community Center is gearing up for its annual Summer Food Program.
This year, the program will being on Monday, June 6, and run through Friday, August 5. Delivery of the food will begin at 4 p.m. each day Monday through Friday. Food will not be delivered on July 4 due to the Independence Day holiday.
This year marks the 14th year the TLC Center has operated the program to provide food to children during the summer. Over the years, the program has grown. In the first year, 2002, Center volunteers prepared and delivered less than 10,000 meals over the summer. In 2015, the Center provided more than 72,000 meals in children in Carter County and delivered nearly 2,700 family food boxes to families in the community.
TLC Community Center Director Angie Odom said she felt led to start the Summer Food Program after working with children in the local school system.
“I was hearing from a lot of children that they didn’t look forward to being out of school for the summer because they didn’t get enough to eat,” Odom said. “A lot of children in the schools here qualify for free or reduced lunch because of their family’s income. They get the bulk of their nutritional needs met with the school meal program, but in the summer those meals aren’t there.”
During the summer, some family struggle financial to provide the meals the children normally get through the school system, Odom said.
It was the desire to help those children and families that led Odom to launch the Summer Food Program with the help of volunteers, local churches and area businesses.
Each day of the program, volunteers deliver a hot dinner meal to each child along with a bagged breakfast and bagged lunch for them to eat the following day until food is delivered again. The Center also provides family food boxes to families in community.
Families do not need to sign up for the program to receive food, Odom said. “They just need to show up at a delivery site,” she said.
Last year, the TLC Center launched a garden program through the help of the Gods Garden Ministries as a way of providing fresh produce — such as tomatoes, corn, bell peppers and cucumbers — to the children and families served by the Summer Food Program. This year, the Center will be growing two gardens for the program —one through Gods Garden Ministries and one with the support of Hunter First Baptist Church.
Odom said though the program is getting ready to start, the Center is still looking for volunteers to help prepare and deliver the food as well as volunteers to help tend and harvest the gardens.
“It’s a great opportunity for churches, youth groups or civic clubs to get involved in the community and help out children and families,” Odom said.
Those wishing to volunteer can stop by the TLC Community Center any day during the program starting at 1 p.m. Anyone under the age of 18 who wants to volunteer should be accompanied by a parent or guardian or other responsible party such as pastor or youth pastor on their first trip to volunteer so permission slips can be signed and the rules for volunteering explained, Odom said.
Due to insurance regulations and vehicle size, not all volunteers who wish to ride along with the food delivery will be able to ride in a vehicle belonging to the Center, Odom said, but if they wish to follow in their personal vehicle they can.
Stops for the 2016 Summer Food Program are as follows:
• Lynnwood Avenue
• Long Hollow / Sims Hill area – pick up at the parking lot for Sims Hill Christian Church
• Mill Pond Road – pick up at Campbell’s Trailer Park
• all trailer parks on Swimming Pool Road
• Nave Street
• Ollie Collins Road
• all apartments and trailer parks on Lovers Lane
• Fitzsimmons Hill – pickup at trailer park at the bottom of the hill
• Lynnwood and Lynnridge Apartments
• South Hills Estates
• Elizabethton Housing Development Agency apartments on Pine Ridge Circle
• Watauga Avenue – pickup at the Elizabethton City Schools administration building (old Douglas School)
• Lee Apartments
• Cottage Avenue
• trailer parks near Watts Dance Studio
• apartments on Jena Beth Drive
The TLC Community Center will also be providing family food boxes to families in the Stoney Creek, Roan Mountain, Little Milligan and Central Communities. Families can pick up their food box once a week.
• In Roan Mountain contact the Good Samaritan Thrift Store for pick up availability.
• In Little Milligan, food boxes will be available at Little Milligan Elementary. Contact J. R. Campbell for pickup availability.
• In Central, food boxes will be distributed by Central Community Christian Church. Contact the church for pickup availability.
• In Stoney Creek, food boxes will be distributed by the TLC Community Center. Contact the TLC Center for pickup availability.
Sponsors for the 2016 TLC Garden and the Summer Food Program are: Farm Supply of Elizabethton; George Campbell; Bob Campbell; David Asher; Jack Buckles; Powell Wilson; Lynn and Jeannie Johnson; Northeast Community Credit Union; Immanuel Baptist; Valley Forge Free Will Baptist; Silver Angels; Zion Baptist; Elizabethton Church of God; First United Methodist; Central Community Christian Church; Carter Christian Church; Grace Baptist; First Baptist; Sunnyside Baptist; Hunter First Baptist; A-1 Auto; Foster Signs; Tom McCloud; Blackberry Station; Highlands Fellowship; St. Elizabeth Catholic Church; Jiggy’s Rays; Dino’s; Pizza Hut; Burger King; McDonald’s; Papa John’s; KFC; Wendy’s; Little Caesar’s; Chick-Fil-A; and Food City.