About $30,000 was raised for the Campbell County Children’s Center at a luncheon April 17 at LaFollette Church of God. With close to 200 people in attendance, it was “the largest luncheon we held so far,” executive director Tracie Davis said.
“It was truly an amazing event,” Davis said.
Former UT men’s basketball coach Bruce Pearl was the keynote speaker. He emphasized the importance of supporting children in the community—because they are the most vulnerable, Davis said. Out of all the positions Pearl has held, he said being a father has been the most important. He also thanked everyone for supporting the Children’s Center.
“Because the folks that were there (are) the people who support us throughout the year, and we’re thankful for that,” Davis said.
The Campbell County Mayor’s Office honored Pearl with a proclamation.
Assistant District Attorney General Lori Phillips-Jones acknowledged the child protective investigative team (CPIT) for all its hard work and dedication to supporting abused children.
The children’s center works with law enforcement, the Department of Children Services and the District Attorney’s Office to offer services in Campbell, Claiborne and Union counties to abused children and their families free of charge. These include mental health services, sexual assault exams, forensic interviews, case management and school based prevention—which involves teaching elementary children about personal body safety and middle school children about bullying.
The Campbell County Children’s Center has operated out of a new building for about a year and a half, Davis said.
“Proceeds from the luncheon will help us pay for our building,” she said. “This will help us to continue to provide services to the community.”
Not only were donations made at the luncheon, but volunteers helped make it possible, Davis said.
“We do this all on our own,” she said. “We depend heavily on volunteers.”
Jimmy Jeffries and the LaFollette Police Department, The Campbell County Sherriff’s Department, Mark Huffaker and Walmart staff and other volunteers directed traffic, set up chairs and cleaned.
The children’s center board of directors sponsored the luncheon.
“They donated all food and (preparations) as a way to support the event,” Davis said.
Sandra Branam from Ideal Florists also helped with the table arrangements.
“It’s just a blessing to have community support,” Davis said. “We couldn’t have done it without the support of the community.”