More than 100 people turned out to start their holiday season with breakfast with St. Nick at First Baptist Church of Maryville on Saturday and to support a fundraiser for Secret Safe Place for Newborns of Tennessee.
The event brought in around $1,000. This is the fifth year for the organization’s annual Breakfast with Santa and Vendor Mall, executive director Shannon McCloud said.
“It was a good crowd. We probably had about 100,” she said of families who turned out to start their holidays by supporting Secret Safe Place. “That’s what we were hoping for, especially with Santa Claus here. We wanted to get people out and give them something to do.”
McCloud said this was the first time the event had been held at the church which appeared to have plenty of room for both tables where people could eat and space for vendors to set up. “Everyone has enjoyed the space,” she said. “And Jeff Counts, the chef at Blount Memorial Hospital, did the pancakes, and we have received so many good comments.”
Clifford Mann of Maryville played Santa Claus and said it was a ministry of outreach for him. “I don’t charge, and they let me share about Jesus,” he said.
The law, enacted on July 1, 2001, allows mothers of newborns to surrender unharmed babies to designated medical facilities within 72 hours of birth without fear of being prosecuted. As long as the baby is unharmed, and the mother acts within 72 hours of birth, she will not be prosecuted and is assured of complete confidentiality. Her baby and her secret will be safe.
The group’s goal is to prevent newborn abandonment through the expansion of education and public awareness efforts. At least 34 babies have been saved by the Safe Haven Law since 2004.