Note: This post was originally published on the CWS blog.
Nestled along the Appalachian Mountains, the Upper East Tennessee Human Development Agency is in the heart of poverty-ridden America. UETHDA serves Carter, Greene, Hancock, Hawkins, Johnson, Sullivan, Unicoi and Washington counties.
Teams in each of the agency’s nine Neighborhood Service Centers work daily to help clients overcome the daily hardships that they face. Specifically, they offer assistance that helps people get on a path to long-term self-sufficiency.
One thing that families visiting the centers often need are school supplies. We provided 120 CWS School Kits to UETHDA for distribution to school-age children because, as Community Services Director Norma Tremblay notes, “families who are struggling to pay their bills and put food on the table should not have to worry about purchasing paper and pencils.”
In that same spirit of long-term progress, UETHDA works in partnership with other local organizations serving vulnerable populations in the area. In particular, they focus on reaching people facing homelessness. “A warm blanket or a hygiene kit can mean the world to these individuals who have lost so much and have so little,” says Norma.
At least half of the people at any given worship service at Shades of Grace United Methodist Church are experiencing homelessness. But in Shades of Grace they have found a haven. The church provides meals, showers, addiction help, GED education, job assistance, prayers and fellowship. And CWS Kits and Blankets. Through their partnership with Shades of Grace, UETHDA has distributed 120 lightweight blankets, 125 heavy blankets and 240 hygiene kits. Norma says that people who received the supplies said things like, “I’m going to smell good today!” and “I have been praying for a blanket.”
“The blankets and personal hygiene kits that were provided by Church World Services have made such a difference and meant so much to the homeless population in Northeast Tennessee,” Norma says. “UETHDA is forever grateful to Church World Service for your generosity and support.”