published Monday, March 28th, 2011

Singer Lawson highlights Caring Place event

Arnold Branam and Ailene Asprodites prepare fans for the rooms at The Caring Place. They will be handy in warm weather when people come for household items, clothing and food.
Staff Photo by Randall Higgins/Chattanooga Times Free Press
Arnold Branam and Ailene Asprodites prepare fans for the rooms at The Caring Place. They will be handy in warm weather when people come for household items, clothing and food. Staff Photo by Randall Higgins/Chattanooga Times Free Press

CLEVELAND, Tenn.—Melissa Lawson, winner of the 2008 Nashville Star contest for rising country musicians, will be the entertainer at The Caring Place’s April 7 fundraising banquet.

The event, which includes a silent auction from 6 to 7 p.m., will be at Westmore Church of God on Wolfe Drive NE. Individual tickets are $50 each, and sponsorship for a table of eight is $375.

Reba Terry, executive director of the service organization, said its services keep growing just as the need is growing. Clothing, household goods, food and counseling are available.

On Friday, The Caring Place received a large donation of fresh meat. That donation is possible, said Ted Asprodites, because two large walk-in coolers have been in place for just a few weeks.

In January, the Wildwood Avenue center served 1,174 households, up from the 1,142 in January 2010, officials said. In February the number was 1,112, up 125 over February 2010.

Last year The Caring Place distributed 166 tons of food, much of it from the Southside Walmart.

“We have been blessed. Even in these times we have never had to close,” Terry said.

In 2010 The Caring Place served 3,316 unduplicated households. Some were served multiple times.

“We tend to think that if folks are eligible for a service they are going to use it,” Terry said.

For The Caring Place, individuals are eligible once a month; families, every two weeks. But the average household comes less than five times a year.

“We often hear people say, ‘I only come when I have to,’” Terry said.

Founded in 2002 as a consolidation of churches’ community benevolent services, The Caring Place now includes support from 64 churches from 12 denominations. It has more than 140 volunteers and five staff members.

about Randall Higgins...

Randall Higgins covers news in Cleveland, Tenn., for the Times Free Press. He started work with the Chattanooga Times in 1977 and joined the staff of the Chattanooga Times Free Press when the Free Press and Times merged in 1999. Randall has covered Southeast Tennessee, Northwest Georgia and Alabama. He now covers Cleveland and Bradley County and the neighboring region. Randall is a Cleveland native. He has bachelor’s degree from Tennessee Technological University. His awards ...

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