Sparta nonprofit gives helping hand to the homeless


As most of us prepare to gather with friends and family as we begin the holiday festivities next week, filling our stomachs with Thanksgiving goodies and our hearts with love and laughter. However, while we sit and laugh in warm homes before we move on to shopping and a month of Christmas love, there is a population that does not get to enjoy the season.

According to the National Coalition for the Homeless, there are 37.2 million Americans living below the poverty level. Among those, 580,000 Americans are homeless on any given night, and 44 million people are at risk of suffering from hunger.

While it’s easy to think that homelessness is a big city problem, in actuality, it is a problem in all communities.

“We’re seeing a huge increase in homelessness since the housing market is the way it is and also since the Bill 1086 passed,” Tina Lomax, director at Seeds of Hope, a local organization that seeks to combat harmlessness and hunger in White County, said. “Lots of families, including those with children, are currently without any shelter. We currently know of 71 people without proper shelter in our own community.”

Seeds of Hope does what they can, providing the Coldest Nights Shelter in the winter months to keep people out of freezing temperatures; helping people find affordable housing, by providing guidance for finding employment, education, and keeping families safe; and by providing a self-service free food pantry that offers food 24/7. Most recently, the organization has begun a soup kitchen once a month, on the first Thursday of each month, where anyone can stop and get a hot meal beginning at 11 a.m. that day and continuing until they run out of food for the day.

Lomax said Seeds of Hope works closely with emergency agencies, including Sparta Police Department, White County Sheriff’s Office, and Saint Thomas Highlands Hospital to find persons who need their help.

“Our desire is to always give a hand up, not a hand out,” Lomax said, emphasizing that the Seeds of Hope organization focuses on getting people into a better position where they can provide for their families.

Everything the organization, which is a 501c3 nonprofit organization, does is done through donations. So, anyone looking to help someone enjoy their holiday, stay warm this winter, or go to bed with a full stomach Is encouraged to reach out to Lomax at (931) 303-6695.

“We are solely run on donations, and if you’d like to partner with us financially you can send checks to 234 King St. or donate to our Facebook fundraiser which can be found on our seeds of Hope of TN Facebook page,” Lomax said, but was quick to add that the organization needs volunteers just as much as they need finances. “We also are looking for volunteers during shelter season. And, of course, we encourage anyone who can buy a few extra groceries on their next trip to the store to give back by helping to stock our Free Food Pantry.”

This holiday season, Seeds of Hope is volunteering their services to help LOVE 38583 provide a free Thanksgiving meal, 4-6 p.m., Nov. 23. The LOVE 38583 meal will be provided at First Baptist Church, 308 N. Spring St., in Sparta.


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