A way to help Good Neighbors: Lean On Me spring concert

Anyone who enjoys Christian and Gospel music and wants to help a struggling neighbor will want to be at Monte Vista Baptist Church Sunday evening, May 1.

The Lean On Me spring concert to benefit Good Neighbors will start at 6 p.m. at the church at 1735 Old Niles Ferry Road in Maryville.

The ecumenical music celebration of faith and life will include music from seven Blount County churches, with headliners being “The Faithful Men” of Fairview and “4MV” of Monte Vista Baptist Church.

Bringing their musical talents are groups from Monte Vista Baptist, Fairview United Methodist, Our Lady of Fatima Catholic, New Providence Presbyterian, St Paul Lutheran, St Paul AME Zion and Voices of Praise.

Good Neighbors board member Katherine Caputo said there are 20 foundation churches that support Good Neighbors, with the majority of the organization’s budget funded by those churches.

Board president Joe Szmidt said Good Neighbors annually makes $5,000 through its a progressive dinner fundraiser. “Then we get $13,000 out of $78,000 from United Way. Sometimes if we’re lucky we get grants from FEMA,” he said.

In addition to raising some additional funds, Szmidt said the board has another goal they hope to achieve through the concert. “We’re trying to increase our visibility in the community,” he said. “We’re supported by United Way, but we are the least understood agency as far as what we do.”

The ministry was started in 1996 by members for the Blount County Ecumenical Action Council to meet a need to help those with seemingly no where else to turn. (See Szmidt’s accompanying story.)

“We typically don’t fund 100 percent of the need. We’re typically the last dollar. We see that the last payment eviction notice is taken care of or the notice saying the utility company was going to cut off electricity in summer when it is 100 degrees.”

The Lean On Me concert is free, with funds being raised through a Love Offering collected that evening. For more information regarding Good Neighbors, call executive director Lisa Blackwood at 865-681-5420 or visit www.goodneighborsbc.com.

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