TLC plans Friday Christmas dinner

Published 5:55 pm Tuesday, December 13, 2022

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By Angela Cutrer
Elizabethton Star
Angie Odom of the TLC Community Center invites everyone with minor children to its Christmas events Friday from 10 a.m. to noon for the Angel Tree offerings and from 3-7 p.m. for dinner.
“It’s nice to have it back to normal,” said Odom, TLC’s director, about post-COVID-19 sensibilities. “On average, we serve 325 clients and their families a month. COVID made that hard. In the summer, we feed 425 kids every day — that’s three meals a day and it helps when we can see them in person and understand that they are all right.”
TLC does all this without any government funding: It relies on businesses, individuals and churches to provide for the community members in need.
“We’ll have food for around 500 people [during Friday evening’s dinner],” Odom said. “If we run out, we go for pizza!”
Clients can eat there or take it with them and you don’t have to sign up first.
“We’ve been doing this for almost 23 years,” Odom said with passion in her voice. “It’s about bringing people together. It’s amazing what can be done when people come together. It’s always so much fun and I’m so excited!”
Sunny Side Baptist Church is bringing its puppet ministry and the characters will inhabit the miniature TLC Town, tucked away within its windows to delight the children.
Santa will be in his own room so that any child who feels uncomfortable around a lot of folks can have some one-on-one time with the big guy. He’ll also give out presents and Bundles of Love bags, which include hygiene items, food, hats and gloves and more.
Out in front of the center will be a large stable built by Scotty Johnson’s class at Unaka High School. It will include a live nativity, “with donkeys and all,” Odom said.
The theme this year is “Jesus is the reason for the season.” Odom and volunteers who work with her made up 1,500 Bundles of Love bags, which were donated by Northeast Community Credit Union. The Carter County Car Club and Americano Steakhouse in Roan Mountain provided money for the toys during an after-Thanksgiving fundraiser and Stoney Creek’s Dollar General served as a toy dropoff area.
“Lots of different groups showed up to help us put this all together and we are so grateful,” Odom added. “It’s amazing at how many people in our community come out to help.”
Odom added that TLC’s regular clients who participate in the Mommy Mart program who signed up for the Angel Tree can come from 10 a.m. to noon to pick up their children’s gifts. She also said any teenagers needing to earn Tennessee Promise Hours can call to participate in the evening event.
The TLC Community Center is located on 145 Judge Don Lewis Blvd., Elizabethton. Call 423-895-8601 for more information.

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