Drop Collaborative prepares for new year with new goals

The Drop Collaborative is one of many non-profit organizations getting ready for the new year, and they have many different objectives to push towards. They do not just serve the community, however. They also serve the organizations who serve the community.

Community organizer Victoria Hewlett said the collaborative started in 2015 as a way to provide valuable farming training to students in Carter County.

“[John Drop] found a lot of kids here did not know how to farm,” Hewlett said.

This was bad, she said, because for many, farming is part of the regular culture of Carter County. She said Drop formed the collaborative using land in Stoney Creek in order to provide official training in this line of work and to preserve these local traditions. From there, it took off.

“There is a decline in family farming, especially in this region,” she said. “There are real elements of rural culture that get lost.”

Now, the collaborative partners with organizations across East Tennessee. Some local examples include Unaka High School and Recovery Soldiers, in both cases providing learning opportunities for teamwork, work ethic and more.

Whether the work is done on their own property in Stoney Creek or on the recipient’s land, the crops they harvest all go back into the community, whether it is Second Harvest Food Bank or other organizations who distribute it to people in need.

“It has a huge multiplier effect,” Hewlett said. “Recovery Soldiers was able to harvest it and feed their families.”

Coming into the new year, she said the Drop Collaborative has three main goals: two forms of outreach, including their coloring book contest they recently held as well as their adult outreach, and what she described as a partnership with Kids Like Us, an organization who helps children get ready for the adult world, particularly children with learning disabilities.

She said they need the community’s support in order to make these goals a reality.

“Collaboration is the most important thing,” Hewlett said.

This search for sponsors for the collaborative can be any amount, and sponsors can feature their logos or message on their new coloring book, on promotional material and more.

Those interested in learning more about the collaborative or want to get involved can contact them at 423-707-8798 or by email at victoria@dropcollaborative.com.

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