Thursday, December 27, 2012

Latest Enclave donation supported the Cheatham Place Christmas Party for kids

I have a long-standing practice of donating any Google Ad revenue checks from this blog to worthwhile local non-profits who give so much back to the community. Past causes I've donated to include: Fisk University, Buena Vista Enhanced Option School, Cumberland River Compact, Second Harvest Food Bank, 88.1 WFSK FM, North Nashville Flood Relief Group, Nashville Jazz Workshop, Friends of Nashville Farmers' Market, and the Nashville Neighborhoods Resource Center.

My unpaid earnings with Google Adsense are getting to the level where I expect compensation soon, and I already turned that around and made a donation to a charitable cause down the street from where I live. Former Werthan Lofts resident, Kimble Bosworth, contacted a group of us and asked for donations to her chosen cause:

Y'all may know I have been making sure the children of Cheatham Place, across the street from Werthan, have gifts and food for their Christmas Party for the past 7 years. Every year, this act of giving fills me with that the holiday spirit. This year, even though I am no longer living in Werthan, I am just as committed as ever to make their holiday party a special event for these kids ....

In 2006, when Boz and I moved to Werthan Lofts, Germantown was new to us. I did not know anything about the public housing across the street - Cheatham Place. So, when I heard sirens there during our fist week in our new 'hood, I called MDHA to find out what happened.

Turns out, their housing office administration was just across the street. And a nice lady, Peaches Manning, offered to meet me and address my concerns in person.

She took me on a tour of Cheatham, introduced me to the on-site property manager and several members of the community association. She showed me the plaques announcing that Cheatham Place is on the National Historic Registry.

As we walked the grounds, I noticed that their landscaping was nicer than much of ours in the gated community across the road.

She waved at children as she explained there were currently 120 kids in residence. She also explained, "Honey, most of the sirens you hear around here will be ambulances. We don't tolerate misbehaving and we have a waiting list to replace anyone who does."

I learned a lot that day - about poverty, about judgment, about assumptions and prejudices. And I wanted to do something special for my new neighbors. So, when December came around and Peaches called to invite me to the Cheatham Christmas Party; I decided to bring gifts. Called all my Werthan neighbors and asked for donations. Gathered up about $1000 and headed out the day before the party to go shopping ....

I grabbed a cart and borrowed a few boys and girls and parents at Big Lots to help me pick things out. The manager even went to the back of the store and pulled 50 radios from inventory and sold them to me at a discount for the kids.

So there I was, standing in line with two carts full of toys, holding up everyone behind me at the checkout line. A lady behind me asked, "So who are you anyway? Why you got all those toys."

"I'm nobody." I answered.

The manager, who had been helping me and had heard the story of why I was doing this chimed in and told the curious shopper, "She's buying all these toys for some poor kids in her neighborhood who may not get anything this year."

"Well," the lady said, "They you ain't nobody. You're Santa Clause."

That's when I realized what Christmas spirit feels like. And I was hooked. The people who participate every year have learned, as I did, that the gift is really from Cheatham Place to us, not the other way around.

I was moved by Kimble's story, and so I sent $100 over to help her out with the costs of her project. She posted an update for her "Cheatham Place angels" last week on Facebook:

Your donations purchased food for the event which over 200 people attended. There were more than enough presents for all the kids and even some Kroger gift cards for the adults. Santa made an appearance with Mrs. Claus and got to catch up with the kids. They were so cute when he came in the room. They ran and hugged him. Some were afraid and stood at arms length. Others had their parents carry them over to him. But they all had a great time.

One heart-wrenching story came up this year. A mother of two boys was struck and killed by a car driving at night with no lights as she crossed the street a week before the party. Her boys, 9 and 4 years old, are left with no mother. They are now living with their grandmother, who recently lost her job as an in-home caregiver. They have so little. Well, now they have a little more. Thanks again to your generosity, they each have some warm winter clothes, shoes and a few other necessities. And more help is on the way. Tonight, after an impromptu invitation from Kia Jarmon to join her at an event; I met another angel - Yuri Cunza. He asked if anyone knew some deserving children to receive some of the collected donations of toys from the event. Yep. I do. And tomorrow, we will be bringing some new angels to meet these two boys. You cannot imagine how grateful I am to Yuri and the Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce for making this possible.

Thanks for clicking on the blog ads and making my modest donation possible. I hope that you will keep Kimble Bosworth's Cheatham Place party in mind as Christmas 2013 approaches. It is a worthy effort organized by an invested leader who expresses care for needy kids and families living in our diverse North End community.

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