‘Giving Thanks’ campaign underway at ETCHA

Published 4:37 pm Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Each year continues to be a joy for Ron and Melissa Marvel.
It hasn’t come easy over the past 70 years, but the two directors, along with other East Tennessee Christian Home & Academy (ETCHA) representatives, continue to provide resources for at-risk young girls within the region.
Residents are invited to celebrate the Thanksgiving season with the nonprofit organization during the “Give Thanks” campaign. Each year, ETCHA offers a fundraising initiative to help cover needed expenses at the facility.
According to a letter sent out to different community partners, the facility is hoping to utilize the momentum for last year.
“Last year, you responded to our plea for an additional $40,000 in order to meet our rising costs of operation. We were able to serve 16 young girls last year with seven of these girls dedicating their lives to Jesus Christ. We continue to need these funds this year to keep our doors open to the community and are asking once again that you help us to raise $40,000,” the letter read.
Each year, Ron Marvel indicated the drive asks supporters to continue a monetary gift equal to or greater than the amount that would be spent on a holiday meal. Funds will go to replace ETCHA’s 14-year-old mini van and address ongoing maintenance on campus.
“Our supporters respond generously,” he said. “We thank (them) and above all we thank our Lord and Savior for giving us this opportunity.”
ETCHA’s situation is unique compared to other nonprofit groups. In 2004, the State of Tennessee “red-flagged” the facility’s contract due to a “strong church attendance policy,” and stopped receiving state funds.
“We lost over half our budget overnight,” Ron said. “Many child-caring organizations across the region were forced to close their doors but thanks to faithful donors, we have remained true to our mission statement.”
Another project on the horizon is the organization’s annual shoe drive. From January – March, Ron explained the facility will be able to receive shoes in any condition, except for any with spiked heels. The annual shoe drive is used as a way for the girls on campus to give back to others, with the donated amount going to help individuals overseas, Marvel said. The facility is also about to receive a monetary amount for each pound of shoes donated.
Residents wanting to get involved with the campaign or upcoming shoe drive can learn more by visiting www.etcha.org or may call (423) 542-4423.

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