Almost 1,000 Families Helped So Far; Exec. Dir. Reflects
On 2013 Campaign,
BY O.J. EARLY
The 2013 Christmas Coal Fund Campaign officially ended Dec. 31, after receiving what is believed to be the highest contribution total in the decades-long history of the drive.
The campaign, sponsored annually by The Greeneville Sun and administered free of charge by the staff of Greeneville-Greene County Community Ministries, assists Greene County residents who struggle to keep warm during the winter months.
The Coal Fund is financed entirely by private donations from local citizens, churches, Sunday School classes, businesses, and organizations. No governmental assistance is involved.
Because the Community Ministries staff administer the campaign without any charge, every cent donated to the fund is used to help local residents stay warm during the cold winter months. None of the contributed money is used for overhead expenses, etc.
Final donations of $1,787.25 sent early in the week were received after the Jan. 1 holiday and tallied on Thursday and Friday, then added to the previous total of $118,379.75 -- that total was reported on Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014.
With the final gifts included, the total for the 2013 campaign reached $120,167 -- the most ever contributed to the annual campaign in one year, Community Ministries Executive Director Carmen Ricker said Friday!
As a result of the generous support for the Fund, she stated, almost 1,000 Greene County homes have already been helped with their heating needs, and there continue to be resources to help others in what are sure to be the cold days and nights ahead.
FINAL UPDATE REPORT
The following are the final not-previously-reported contributions to this year's Coal Fund Campaign:
* In memory of my father, William Ekron Bowman, Sr., by Dr. Suzanne B. Klyman, $500;
* Joyce and John T. Johnson, $100;
* Anonymous, $837.25;
* Catherine T. Wooten, $250;
* Betty M. and Tom W. Parker, $50; and
* Bobby Lynn and Angela Dee White, $50.
DONATIONS ACCEPTED YEAR-ROUND
While the Christmas Coal Fund Campaign formally runs from Thanksgiving Day through Dec. 31, donations are accepted -- and welcome -- year-round.
Gifts in the form of either checks or cash may be delivered directly to the Community Ministries office at 107 N. Cutler St., between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. weekdays. Checks should be made payable to The Coal Fund.
Contributions also can be mailed to:
The Coal Fund
P.O. Box 545
Greeneville, TN 37745
Because the Coal Fund is considered one of the outreaches of Greeneville-Greene County Community Ministries Inc., contributions are deductible for federal income tax purposes.
Q-AND-A WITH CARMEN RICKER
Carmen Ricker, longtime executive director of Community Ministries, was asked by the Sun this week to reflect about the 2013 campaign.
Questions asked by the Sun, accompanied by her responses, are shown below.
Q. How would you describe the mission of the Coal Fund?
A. The drive is conducted each year by The Greeneville Sun, and [the Coal Fund itself] runs mid-November through April of the ensuing year, if funds are available. The program gives emergency assistance to our clients who cannot afford heating on their own.
Q. The 2013 Coal Fund raised more than $120,000 this year. How will this affect the community?
A. Donations to the Coal Fund this year were more than any prior year. We have already assisted 984 homes with heating needs.
In addition, wood [from the Wood Ministry] used to heat homes has assisted approximately 230.
These numbers will change drastically before the last of the heating season.
Q. Will there always be a need for the Coal Fund?
A. Yes, there will always be a need for the Coal Fund program. Most of our clients can barely make ends meet, and some cannot do that, and when a cold snap occurs, they simply need community support.
Q. Related to management of the Coal Fund, is there anything that you would have done differently?
A. There is nothing we would have done differently in the management of the Coal Fund. We have done this for a number of years, and with that experience, we handle any problem as it happens.
Each request is handled in a professional manner by our interviewers, who monitor closely the spending of funds.
Q. Additional comments?
A. The Coal Fund is a much needed program for our community. There is a great need for heating of homes as cold weather moves in.
We are especially compassionate to families with small children, elderly, and/or sickness. There would be hundreds of homes without heat if not for the Coal Fund program.