Empty Pantry board thankful for willing volunteers, special events
By Linda Braden Albert | (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Thanksgiving Day is a time to reflect on the blessings of life, and for the members of the Empty Pantry Fund board of directors, the steady increase in the total donations for the annual fund is tops on the list. They know just how important that large bag of food is to needy Blount County residents.
Paul Bales, past chairman of the fund, spent more than 50 years heading the charitable group. He’s thankful for all the volunteers who come together each year to make sure the funds are raised and the foods are packed and then delivered. For instance, Bill Dunlap, Blount County roads superintendant, is instrumental in getting the cases of canned goods unloaded from 18-wheelers just prior to packing night, providing forklifts and manpower.
Sgt. Michael Huskey at the Tennessee Army National Guard Armory has made the Armory available as a secure location for storing the foods, for packing on Dec. 13 and as a base for volunteers involved in the delivery process on Dec. 16.
Volunteers Butch Cope and Boyd Parrott are valuable team members, as well. Cope makes sure the shopping carts used during the packing night are at the Armory and ready to go, while Parrott oversees the placement of the cases of food.
Several upcoming events also have become annual traditions to benefit the Empty Pantry Fund. Smith Funeral and Cremation Service has its Memorial Christmas Tree again this year, where anyone who has lost a loved one may make a donation to EPF and receive a memorial ornament to place on the tree.
In conjunction with this, Grandview Cemetery will hold its annual Candlelight Tribute Dec. 11. Those who make a memorial donation through the cemetery office for EPF will have a candle placed on their loved one’s grave site. A reception will follow at the Life Event Center.
The Reindeer Run, the third leg of the Healthy Blount Triple Crown sponsored by the Maryville Alcoa Blount County Parks and Recreation Commission, takes place Dec. 2. A portion of the proceeds goes to the Empty Pantry Fund.
On Dec. 8, the Maryville/Alcoa Jaycees Christmas Parade takes place. The sheet collection, in which volunteers will carry sheets along the parade route, gives an opportunity for people to toss in additional contributions for EPF.
Donations to date
Balance Forward $32,113.63
In memory of our loved ones: Cam Hatcher, Charles Hatcher, Birdia Cummings, Otis Rose, Ella Myers, Mike Bundra and Bill and Maria McClanahan, by Bill and Marie McClanahan $150
In memory of our loved ones: Boyd and Zella McClanahan, Mary Blair, Sam McClanahan, by Bill and Marie McClanahan, $100
Avery and Virginia Palmer, $50
In memory of Cheryl Purkey, $100
In memory of Edward Peck, $50
Mary Graves, $100
HOLP Construction, $1,000
Shirley Gates, $20
Gordon Ward, $100
In honor of Paul Bales, $2,000
In the Name of Jesus Christ, $1,000
James and Connie Schwanengel, $20
In honor of Finn, Mitch, Pete and Ben, $200
In memory of Homer Shumer, Jack, Pauline and Brendle Overly from Doug and Sheila Overly, $100
Robert Byrd, $50
In memory of wife, Rose McConnell, $100
Joy Bishop, $100
Charles Feezell, $40
In memory of Mrs. Olga Bryant from Mr. and Mrs. Boyd Lee Anderson, $100
TOTAL — THANK YOU, $37,713.63