CRC has a very special relationship with Tim and Ronald from Progressive Directions. They’re our friends, our collaborators and our delivery boys.
Every month or so, Tim and Ronald drive the Progressive Directions truck down from Clarksville to make a pick-up at a major retailer that donates to CRC. We keep most of the household goods; Progressive Directions gets all the food and whatever else they want from the haul. But it doesn’t stop there.
When they get back to Clarksville, they start making deliveries. Not because it’s part of their job but because they’re acutely aware of other agencies in need. Last month, here’s where some of that donation went:
Mana Cafe Ministries, which feeds low-income families and the homeless.
Grace Assistance Program, which helps the poor meet basic needs such as food, utility bills, temporary emergency shelter and transportation.
Good Samaritan Ministry, which provides medical and dental services to the uninsured poor.
Progressive Directions itself used those donations in their residential programs; in its Early Intervention program, which serves preschool children with developmental delays; and in its Buddy Ball program, a special needs athletic league.
That’s a lot of love shown to a lot of people far beyond the dock doors at CRC World Headquarters.
The Chicks love to visit our partner agencies. All our 90 nonprofit partners do such important work and it’s nice to get out in the field every once in awhile to see what they’re up to.
So yesterday, Betsy and I visited the Hope Family Health Clinic in Westmoreland. The clinic provides medical care to the uninsured and under-insured. And Joey Foreman, the clinic’s chief compliance, development and information officer (could you get a longer title, Joey?), took us on a tour. At every stop, he gave us a sticky note for each piece of furniture and other office equipment CRC donated to the clinic.
Turns out, we’ve pretty much furnished the place.
The staff was incredibly gracious and grateful, but the Chicks are the ones who are blessed to be able to serve. What we do isn’t glamorous, but it is rewarding. We’re the supply line to the front lines of poverty.
Thanks, Joey, for the tour and for making us feel so special. By the way, folks, if you want to see the real ways Hope changes the lives of the people it serves, take ten minutes and watch a video about their fantastic work.
Betsy and I were honored to receive the Citizen of the Year Award from the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Saturday night. The chapter here in Nashville is a philanthropic powerhouse. If there’s someone in need they will track them down and help them – young or old, no matter the circumstance. During the May 2010 floods they were instrumental in providing relief to hundreds of people. It wasn’t their mission and nobody asked them to spend weeks of their own personal time assisting survivors. They just did it because these gentlemen have the biggest hearts in Nashville.
Which brings me to Preston Bailey, or “Mr. Bailey” as his wife, Jan, refers to him. Preston is an officer in this fraternity I have come to admire and respect so much. He’s also one of our nonprofit partners at CRC because of his job at Welcome Home Ministries. Preston has become like family to the Chicks. The other day I was cleaning out some flood-related papers in my home office and I came across something I would have used in a thank-you speech if I had been called upon to deliver one.
Thankfully the fraternity runs a tight awards ship and I was not called upon to ramble on and on as the rest of the guests started staring at the ceiling. But here’s what I would have said:
“I feel kind of like I’ve won an Oscar and I have just prepared a few brief notes. Only the notes I have are from 3 1/2 years ago.
“Among the notes scribbled on an envelope as CRC was collecting tools to help homeowners whose houses were damaged in the flood was an emphatic outlined note to ‘Call Preston.’ I’m sure the next sentence, if there were one, would have been: Need help from his fraternity.
“Confirm appointments with homeowners…Preston…propane hot water heaters. More flood stuff that required Preston’s attention (at least according to me).”
Omega Psi Phi recognized CRC with an award because of the flood, I’m sure, and a few other things we’ve helped them with, the latest being new shoes for children at John Early Magnet Middle School.
Here’s Preston again, getting ready to take the shoes to those beautiful children who had come to school without any. We would not have known about this need had it not been for Omega Psi Phi, which mentors students at the school.
The principles Omega Psi Phi lives by are Manhood, Scholarship, Perseverance and Uplift. Preston is as humble a man as I have ever known and he will cringe when he sees the attention I’m paying to him right now.
But he embodies all those qualities his fraternity holds so dear. And we’re so honored to be a part of his and all of his fraternity brothers’ lives.
Sometimes – actually, most of the time – Betsy and I get way more from our nonprofit partners than we give. Funny how it works that way in the nonprofit world. Nice, that. At any rate, one of our nonprofit partners is Heart of Worship, which maintains a school in Haiti by paying for the children’s lunches, raising money for repairs and additions, and shipping needed supplies. I am told that the average Haitian child only attends school through the sixth grade because they are then expected to work to help support their families. Ninety percent of the schools in Haiti are run by private or church-based groups. So we love Heart of Worship. And once a year, they ask for Blessing Boxes for each child at their school. Once again, more a blessing to those who provide the boxes. My little girl, left in the photo, is Saika Antoine. She’s four years old, the same age as my granddaughter, Sydney. Sydney has everything a little girl could want and she deserves it. In fact, she just got back from Disney World. Saika will most probably never leave her country or even her village. Unless. Unless, she gets a good start on an education and breaks that sixth-grade ceiling. The Blessing Boxes contain a new outfit, socks and underwear, hygiene supplies, a toy or something else fun and a note from the donor to make it personal. I had fun making mine. I don’t get to shop for Sydney very often so it was nice to have another little girl to fuss over. It’s not too late to send your blessings to a child whose obstacles are many and options few. If you’d like to spread holiday cheer in a different way this year, click here to get more information.
And I mean that in the nicest way. World Relief, one of our partner agencies, does tremendous work resettling refugees from war-torn countries. One of their responsibilities is finding housing for refugees and that includes furnishing many, many apartments. Which is why the warehouse crew at World Relief are scavengers. They look at a filing cabinet and see a dresser for a bedroom. They look at office chairs and see seating for five in the living room.
And, today, at the monthly CRC giveway, they saw two pieces of plywood and thought dining room tables. The plywood was leaning up against a wall in the warehouse, leftover from construction after the flood.
“Uh, what are you doing with the plywood?” asked Burt from World Relief. “Nothing,” I said. “Why, you guys want it?” You’d have thought I just handed him two tickets to an Adele concert. “We can make four dining room tables out of this!”
So off the plywood went to the World Relief warehouse, where it will be transformed into tables where families will sit, share food and talk about how their lives are being transformed in the United States. Not bad for a day’s work by the scavengers.
In the world of giving away furniture to nonprofit agencies, when you get a call from a law office you know you’ve hit the jackpot.
Let me back up here. We work with a lot of businesses to give away furniture they no longer use. The only stipulation CRC makes is that the furniture must be in good condition. Nonprofits that have been existing for years in offices with broken chairs and spindly tables are so grateful to get an upgrade. But law offices? Forget about it. Their furniture is primo. Have you ever seen a lawyer sitting behind a particle-board desk? Neither have we.
So, thanks to our good buddy, Jim Zaccari of Armstrong Moving, we got to clear out a law office (the firm moved and got new furniture).
So, who got what? TPAC got chairs. Lots of chairs for their offices and waiting areas. TPAC is one of those partners that doesn’t need what we offer on a monthly basis. They’re in it for the furniture. Many folks don’t realize that TPAC is a nonprofit. In front of the curtains, everything is glitzy. But behind the scenes, they’re just like every other nonprofit – loathe to spend money on themselves. Over the years, we’ve furnished a lot of their offices and we love doing it.
Project Reflect got some much-needed desks and bookshelves for the library. Project Reflect operates two charter schools for at-risk children and they do an outstanding job of taking kids from the most dire of circumstances and giving them structure, discipline and a lot of love. They put every dollar they have into educating those kids, which means they don’t have any money for furniture. Fortunately, they have us to provide furniture. And, fortunately, we have them to provide the next generation of leaders. And, by the way, they also have a fearsome middle school football team. Go Eagles!!
Then there is World Relief. They need pretty much every stick of furniture they can get because they provide housing for refugees. Sometimes office chairs become living room chairs and file cabinets become dresser drawers. In a pinch. But an office chair is better than no chair, don’t you think? Burton and Joel are the go-to guys for moving these fragile souls into their new homes. They came away with lots of chairs, a few desks, a bookshelf, a few filing cabinets and kitchen items from the law firm’s break room.
So a good day at the office. Perfectly good furniture that might have been thrown away is instead finding a second useful life. Jim Zaccari, the Chicks ♥ you!
The day before Halloween, we just want to present you with the prettiest witch in all of Middle Tennessee. We had a lot of Halloween costumes and decorations at the last CRC giveaway and the granddaughter of one of our nonprofit partners came along with her grandparents. She wasn’t quite sure who I was or why I was so insistent on snapping her photo. But I can’t resist a cute kidlet trying on Halloween hats. And holding a wand. Princess or witch? You decide.
This is Joan Anderson from the Smithson-Craighead Academy, one of the most effective charter schools on the planet for helping extreme at-risk children get back in the game and stay there. And she is holding the reason the Community Resource Center exists.
Yes, it’s just a packet of paper donated by a healthcare company, OPTUMInsight, that bought another company and had leftover stationary with the old logo. But it’s a packet of paper (and there were a lot of packets – like three pallets full) that Joan says will save the school a half a year’s budget on paper. Many, many packets went back to school with Joan.
Metro had given up on the children who attend the school, and now they are thriving. But it is a daily struggle. Some of the children come to school in dirty clothing. The school has a washing machine and they exchange the dirty clothes for clean ones at the beginning of the school day and give the children back their freshly laundered clothes at the end. The struggling parents of these children know the school will take care of a chore they cannot afford to accomplish themselves. The school has extended hours from early in the morning to late in the afternoon so children don’t return to an unsafe environment any earlier than they have to.
Right now, the umbrella organization of the school, Project Reflect, is struggling to keep its middle school open. Project Reflect started the middle school so its elementary school graduates would find a safe place as they grew. Middle school kids are a little more difficult, as any parent knows. Test scores aren’t what they should be. The school turns no child away and that has caused problems with students who were not brought up in the strict but loving atmosphere of Smithson-Craighead.
So this is why we matter. As they scrape every penny together to serve children who have been marginalized in a traditional school setting, at least they won’t have to pay for paper for the next few months. They won’t have to pay for laundry detergent either. CRC provided that, too.
If you have a few dollars you’re about to spend on a fancy dinner out, why not donate that to Project Reflect, a truly outstanding organization that is not talking the talk, but walking the difficult walk of educational reform for our poorest young citizens.
The Chicks rarely get to see the recipients of what we distribute to our nonprofit partners. It can be a blessing to be “the supply line to the front lines of poverty” because assisting those in need face-to-face, day in and day out, is hard and emotionally draining work. But we also never get to see the smiles on the faces of those who receive new clothing, personal hygiene products, the host of other things we distribute or, yes, a new hat.
Joyce Adams is one of those compassionate people on the front lines. Her agency, Caregiver Relief, assists those caring for chronically ill people. The other day she sent along this note, with a couple of photos: “Here are two lovely “belles” with Alzheimer’s disease that were soooo excited to have a new hat! It is a simple thing to us, but these little “gifts” really brighten the long days of many people here in Bedford County. Thanks for ALL you all do!” Joyce Adams
New things are seldom seen by many of our most fragile citizens. But we are fortunate that we have corporate donors who understand that a new coffee cup, hat or piece of jewelry is an unimagined luxury to those in senior centers, recovery programs or homeless shelters. Yes, CRC provides the basic necessities of life, but it’s those special gifts that really light up the eyes of some who may struggle to find a little joy in their daily lives.
Gifts are not required when our nonprofit partners come to the warehouse for basic household necessities for their clients. But they are always appreciated.
Tim Mitchell from Progressive Directions has been a partner with CRC for many years. But Tim’s become more than a partner. He’s also a friend. When the Chicks first moved to our warehouse on Omohundro, Tim drove down from Clarksville to install our shelving. We’ve also borrowed Tim and his truck on occasion for pick-ups around town. He knows the Chicks have a sweet tooth so he’s all the time bringing us cookies and cupcakes and such.
So imagine our delight when Tim arrived at the warehouse yesterday with an entire chocolate cake! We should say here that Tim has conquered a few health issues in the last several years and chocolate cake is not on his approved list anymore. However, if you will notice in the photo, he “accidentally” got a little chocolate icing on his finger and, well, just had to remove it by licking it off. That’s okay, Tim. A little frosting isn’t going to hurt you and the Chicks took care of the other 99.9 percent.