The Rotary Club of Farragut has provided an outdoor reading opportunity with its “Little Library” at McFee Park.
Service Project co-chair Brian Elton installed the library, with help from RCF members Bill Rice, David Smoak (Town of Farragut administrator), Jim O’Brien, RCF president Ed Jones and president-elect David Bluford Saturday, Nov. 7.
“Another Club member had lined up the Little Library — it was in a box,” Elton said. “All I had to do was finish it.
“It was very rewarding to get this project up,” he added.
Amelia Cole, 14, a Christian Academy of Knoxville home-schooled ninth-grader, recently won first place in the state’s 2020 Tristar Reads high school division.
The summer reading program took place between May 1 and Sept. 7. According to a press release, Cole read 40,800 minutes this summer, the most of anyone in the program, and earned a $1,000 scholarship, which was placed into her 529 savings account for post-secondary purposes.
“I feel like it is such an incredible accomplishment and an honor to have been given a college scholarship for something that I have always loved to do,” said Cole, daughter of Ed and Becky Cole of Knoxville.
“We were notified Amelia was not only the winner of the ninth- through 12th-grade high school group, but she also read the most in the 2020 contest,” Becky said.
Just as every other philanthropic organization currently is experiencing due to COVID-19 concerns, Mission of Hope is serving the needy from an entirely new landscape.
Volunteers are fewer, organizers won’t be able to deliver in-person this Christmas to the 30 schools Mission of Hope serves and the vibrant blue Christmas Drive barrels, typically located throughout the area this time of year, have gone viral.
“We’ve had to do things differently since March,” said Emmette Thompson, MOH executive director of the 24-year-old organization that also provides food, clothing and school supplies year-round to students and their families throughout rural Appalachia.
The COVID-19 restrictions may have changed Farragut Schools’ Giving Tree model this year, but the result should be even easier on donors.
Instead of offering Giving trees at each school with gift tags that supporters would select then shop for gifts — which volunteers would wrap — organizers this year are focusing on gift cards or monetary donations.
“We’ve made significant changes to our model due to COVID protocols at the schools, but we are so grateful to still offer Giving Tree this year,” said LeighAnna Colgrove, Project Giving Tree co-chair. “We are focusing our efforts on a gift-card drive instead of a traditional shopping tag distributor and gift collections.”
Having lived both in China, a communist country, and the United States, Dr. Ming Wang, a cataract and LASIK eye surgeon, philanthropist and community activist, said there is a need to find common ground between the two countries during Rotary Club of Farragut’s Wednesday, Nov. 18, virtual meeting.
Wang said he thinks the people of the two countries should look for a relationship because of the shared economies.
“There is great hope” coming from COVID-19 pandemic research, as Rotary Club of Farragut heard from Dennis Rowe, director of Government and Industry Relations for Knoxville-based Priority Ambulance, during RCF’s virtual meeting Wednesday, Oct. 21.
Rowe, who has more than 35 years of experience in the EMS field in East Tennessee, said Priority took a stand to be proactive when the pandemic threatened to appear.