When I worked for the city about seven-eight years ago, a young adult came into my office seeking help. They were hungry. So hungry they had been picking up road kill for food. I was shook, man.
Some Statistics: But it should not have been surprising since in 2019, 38% percent of people living in Rutherford County, Tenn. were over the threshold of 185% poverty. (That was confusing to me, too, so to put it in monetary terms, the annual food budget shortfall in our county alone is $17,344,000. This amount would be enough to feed nutritious meals to those now suffering from food insecurity, per Feeding America.)
Be Someone’s Light: When the We Are Hope Foundation was formally established through a partnership between three friends (myself, Deborah Balthrop, and Melissa Joyner), it was because all of us have a heart for our community. We had already done some pretty amazing things working together – e.g., heat/air for single mom and her children, new roof for sweet lady surviving only on a not-so-great disability check, help for another single mom who was in a desperate situation – we knew we had limited funds but still wanted to make a difference. Deborah was our rock in reminding us about the hunger issue as our team talked, texted, and messaged during the bad covid years. We talked about kids stuck at home and how schools were helping. We talked about families living in cars. And I remembered my young friend… they had to pick up road kill to eat, to survive.
Then we have a 10-year old girl named Kayleigh – Deborah’s granddaughter – who is a pageant queen with all kinds of impressive titles. As queen, she chose food insecurity as her philanthropic project and working with her grandmother they regularly post on FB about food giveaways.
Thoughts to Words to Action: It’s awful, it’s amazing, and it’s a blessing that someone’s pain and another’s passion could somehow come together to inspire a movement in our LaVergne. And we truly were inspired to bring Blessing Boxes to our city, our people, our neighborhoods. We took the right steps in setting up a 501(c)3 organization (working with Pastor Brenda Bryant of Life of Victory), inviting some very smart and good-hearted people to join us on our Board of Directors. After we adopted our mission statement and bylaws, we were ready to go public and WKRN graciously invited us to talk about our story during a Newsmaker Friday segment this past January. I asked for help in bringing Blessing Boxes to LaVergne and WOW! did it take off!
Here are our boxes and as of about 3:00 p.m. today (Wednesday, April 20), they could use some love. We invite everyone to be a part of this community effort. Clean out your pantries of non-perishable and unexpired items. We’ll take hotel samples for soap, shampoo, etc. We’ll take sanitary products for women. We’ll take diapers and formula.
If you are in need, please stop by our boxes at any time. And by “our boxes” I mean OUR COMMUNITY BOXES. They belong to you. They belong to me. They belong to our children and our grandchildren. They belong to our elected officials and candidates for office. They belong to our city workers. They belong to toddlers. They belong to our homeless. They belong to anyone who has a need and they belong to anyone who can help. If you go by, please take time to take a photo and share on any social media site if something needs love or there’s extras (like in Murfreesboro people left easter baskets).
Here’s where they are:
144 Bain Dr.
Skyline Exhibitor Source
Photo below is from yesterday. Kayleigh’s Food Pantry (also located here) has been keeping it pretty well stocked, but in doing so her food supplies are low. Special thanks to Woody Adams who purchased all the materials for this box, built it, and installed. We wish him years of love and grace for his kindness.
141 Gambill Dr.
LaVergne Rescue Squad
This is our newest box that opened on April 9. There are a couple of cases of pureed tomatoes (if you like chili!), soups, beans, canned items. One of our special friends installed hooks in each of the boxes for people to hang grocery bags to help out
5210 Murfreesboro Rd.
The Sonic Drive-Thru
The Sonic box was opened in late March thanks to the kindness of Garney Construction and Ms. Somer Martin. This one definitely needs some love today. Lots of canned items and some baby food, but any kind of protein, pasta, rice, sauces, etc. would be most welcome.
THANK YOU LAVERGNE for caring, for your kindness, and for helping to feed the hungry.