Helping Hands third annual back-to-school care package distribution by RIO Revolution on July 24 combined meeting a need with good community fun.
Terry McCoy of Blount County founded the outreach with wife, Tracy, through the RIO network of churches and specifically the church that meets at Heritage High School on Sundays. The couple wanted to serve the mission field in their own community, McCoy said.
“It went really, really, really well!” McCoy said. “We probably had 2,500 people there. That was the most we’ve had any year.”
Second Harvest Food Bank assisted with food distribution and RIO members and other volunteers gave away backpacks with school supplies and vouchers for shoes at Shoe Carnival to children.
“We got rid of everything. We had 440 boxes of food and probably 200 of that was with school supplies and shoe cards,” he said.
In addition to inflatables for children to play on, volunteers served hotdogs and hamburgers, and there were a variety of demonstrations and displays from agencies in the community. Nine stylists from salons such as Eden Salon and Bella Salon gave 250 free hair cuts. “We had probably 110 volunteers,” McCoy said. “Not all of them were from our church. Some were from the RIO Network and from other churches.”
Alcoa, Inc. and The Ewing Group were major sponsors with donations of $1,000 each. “We did fundraising with McAlister’s Deli and Chili’s,” he said.
In addition to the food and school supply give-away, McCoy said the volunteers served 1,120 hotdogs.