A thank-you from a mom, a testimony from a sports announcer and a song from a child may not sound like high-end entertainment, but supporters of the Boys and Girls Club of Blount County came away from a dinner recently feeling good because of those three additions.
The March 1 fundraising dinner drew about 160 folks to the Eagleton Boys and Girls Club facility where Steve Greene and Lynn Cox of Maryville and Bill Kilgore, chairman of the Boys and Girls Club Board, prepared a dinner for a good cause.
Entertainment was courtesy of Bob Kesling, Voice of the Vols; Stacy Crawford, a mom who has children in the Boys and Girls Club program; and Jayla Carter of Alcoa, a 9-year-old singer.
“We invited about 200 and had 160 show, which was great,” said Kilgore. “And everyone had good food. Lynn, Steve and I smoked Boston butts, and made slaw and baked beans. It went great. We’re right at the $10,000 mark, but we still have donations coming. Our goal was $11,000 and I think we’ll hit it.”
Kilgore said the Boys and Girls Club makes a difference in children’s lives and the annual fundraising dinner help the staff and volunteers accomplish their goals.
“That’s the big thing: Everything we raise goes straight to them, and everything we raise stays in Blount County,” he said. “We get support from the Boys and Girls Club of the Tennessee Valley, but everything we raise stays here in Blount County.”
Kesling was the keynote speaker for the dinner. Kesling, lead announcer for the University of Tennessee’s Vol Network, has worked with Boys and Girls Clubs in East Tennessee for years, helping with dinners, golf tournaments and other activities. The Bob Kesling Boys & Girls Club Celebrity Golf Classic is one of the biggest tournament in the Greene County community each year and has raised almost a quarter of a million dollars for club programs and activities.Diners were also entertained with the musical talents of 9-year-old Jayla Carter of Alcoa, and a presentation by parent Stacy Crawford, who shared how the Boys and Girls Club have made a difference in the lives of her children.
“I think it is always positive when folks sit down and hear a parent of one of these kids talk about how the Boys and Girls Club has allowed her to continue working and going to school, all the while knowing her kids are safe, and they are getting a hot meal and help with homework,” Kilgore said.
Kilgore said the Boys and Girls Club stresses education, and the club members always have homework time when they arrive after school. “Then when the kids get home in the afternoon, their homework is done, they are fed, and they can have family time,” he said. “You see what we’re doing from both the parent’s and the kid’s perspective, and you can’t help but have your heart strings tugged on.”
The board chairman thanked everyone who helped make the annual fundraiser happen, including event sponsor Alcoa, Inc. “Merlin’s Music also helped us out, and we had a lot of other people help,” he said. “I want to say thanks to all our donors, and everybody who came and participated.”