Care Collaboration holds second meeting to encourage cooperation, coordinate efforts

More than 25 people representing agencies throughout Blount County showed for the Care Collaboration monthly meeting Tuesday, July 22, at Everett Senior Center.

The meeting, the second one for the collaboration, was organized by Stephanie Stieler, with Manna from Heaven Food Bank, Ellis Avenue, Maryville. Harry Grothjahn with WBCR Truth Radio was master of ceremonies for the event.

“The whole idea is to facilitate your work together to make the quality of life better in Blount County,” Grothjahn said.

Part of the meeting was spent in clarification for statements made and gathered from the Manna From Heaven website in a Blount Today story last week. Stephanie Stieler said first that Manna From Heaven Food Bank is really a food pantry. She then emphasized that the Care Collaboration and Manna from Heaven are two different entities and that the purpose of the collaboration was to hear the different voices in Blount County serving community. “We are not the collaborative,” she said. “Manna From Heaven is an agency represented on the Care Collaborative, just like you are. If we stand together, we can make a difference with all the other organizations,” she said. “I hope everyone can see this effort is needed. I hope we can grow this group and make it bigger.”

Gail Root, vice president of development for Second Harvest and Sam Compton, Second Harvest Youth Program manager, explained how Second Harvest helps get food to organizations throughout a 17-county region. Afterward, agency representatives from throughout Blount County introduced themselves and explained the services they provided.

Jean Williamson, vice president of community impact for United Way, said that United Way provides a round table meeting for service providers, churches and agencies on the first Thursday of each month called the Help Line Advisory Committee, and she believes it is very similar to the Care Collaboration.

“We’ve been around 11 years,” Williamson said. “It’s a group of service providers and church organizations who share resources with each other,” she said. “This is kind of the same thing.”

Stieler said the Care collaboration is about bringing agencies and groups together to help people. “The main thing is getting groups to work together,” she said.

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