IF YOU GO
What: Walk of Blessings
When: 8 a.m. Saturday
Where: The Bethlehem Center, 200 W. 38th St.
Information: Visit www.the beth.org or call 423-266-1384, ext. 1.
No matter what happens outside the Bethlehem Center, there is peace inside, said Elizabeth Tallman, director of development.
She said that's because the center's grounds have been sanctified through prayer and she wants that same protection for the entire Alton Park area.
On Saturday, the Bethlehem Center will have its second annual Walk of Blessings. More than 200 people are expected to participate in a 5k walk-run around the community. Representatives from 20 churches from Tennessee and North Georgia are included.
The goal of the walk is wholeness and peace in the community, said Bethlehem Center Executive Director Lurone "Coach" Jennings.
"We've got faith that God is in the mix and that the power of prayer always gives results," he said. "We trust the Lord that our efforts will not go in vain."
The night before the walk, the center is having a slumber party for local youths who also will participate in the walk on Saturday.
Among the dozen stops on the walk's route are Calvin Donaldson Elementary School, Bears Barbershop and the Villages at Alton Park. The group will pray at areas where some homeless people gather and for gang members and their families.
Tallman said she hopes people who want help getting out of gangs will see the crowd walking and know that the Bethlehem Center will welcome them. Instead of being a part of the negative, they can be a part of a positive movement, she said.
The walk is also a fundraiser with a target of $10,000, part of a larger $125,000 goal to increase programming at the center. All funds donated up to Jan. 15 will be matched by the Robert L. and Kathrina H. Maclellan Foundation.
So far, the center serves about 300 children in its facility and another 200 in the community through its literacy program.
Yolanda Putman has been a reporter at the Times Free Press for 11 years. She covers housing and previously covered education and crime. Yolanda is a Chattanooga native who has a master’s degree in communication from the University of Tennessee and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Alabama State University. She previously worked at the Lima (Ohio) News. She enjoys running, reading and writing and is the mother of one son, Tyreese. She has also ...