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Church collects for charities

Westside Unitarian Universal-ist Church has donated nearly $4,000 to four local charities in the past year.

“We started this last January. We decided that, each quarter, we would choose [to support] a local charity with names submitted by the congregants,” Dawn Lindsay, a WUUC member, said.

“Every Sunday, when we took the offering, 25 percent of undesignated funds would go to that particular charity,” Lindsay said, adding congregants also could designate funds to go to a charity.

For the first charity, the Loudon County chapter of Habitat for Humanity, WUUC raised $836.

“There were several people in the church who work for that group,” Lindsay said.

WUUC also raised $1,228 for Interfaith Health Clinic and $902 for Young Williams Animal Center.

“That was in honor of one of our parishioners who had passed away right before we were about to choose our next charity.

“She was a veterinarian and was involved with that organization,” Lindsay said.

Finally, WUUC raised $1,152 for Breakthrough Corporation.

“It’s associated with the autism group in the area and it’s primarily to improve the lives of adults with autism,” Lindsay said.

“That group is trying to build a live-in community for autistic adults,” she added.

The church only chooses local charities as recipients of funds.

“We figured the large, national charities probably have lots of funding forces but the local charities really don’t,” Lindsay said.

The church’s current charity is Iva’s Place in Lenoir City, which provides meals and housing to at-risk women and children.

“For women running away from abusive situations or homeless women with children, they have beds … and a safe house.

“They provide meals and have clothes and other things these women might need,” Lindsay said.

Charities are chosen by the Board of Trustees from a pool of ideas and are selected to represent “a different population each time,” Lindsay said.

In other words, each consecutive charity will not benefit the same population of people: for example, one charity may provide funds for housing; the next may benefit animals.

According to Lindsay, the economy has not dampered donations. The church has nearly doubled its offering amounts since benefiting charities.

“It seems to be a good program … I think it’s very worthwhile,” Lindsay said.


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