Three years ago, Terry Hogan Tiamd stood at the door of the Salvation Army waiting to meet a client.
It touched her heart in a special way as she watched a mother and three children clutching plastic garbage bags in their hands, ready to use them as shields against pouring rain. Tiamd gave her own umbrella to the woman. After that incident she gave away several more of her umbrellas.
“That scene of the mother and children with no umbrellas tugged at my heart, and then it set my brain in gear,” Tiamd said.
As a social worker assessment specialist for Mecklenburg County, she came up with the idea of an umbrella drive. Shortly after that experience, Tiamd ran into Bea Thompson at the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture. Thompson is the news and public affairs director for WBAV-FM (101.9) and WPEG-FM (98).
“When I pitched the idea to Bea, she loved it,” Tiamd said.
Tiamd decided to include the umbrella project as one of her goals for her county work plan. She is part of the Homeless Support Services Division of the Community Support Services Department.
Fast-forward three years.
Tiamd and Thompson and their respective organizations will launch the third annual Umbrella Drive for the Homeless on Nov. 13. The goal is to collect 1,000 umbrellas. Although they have come close, it has been an elusive goal so far.
All you’re asked to do is collect new umbrellas that will be distributed to adults and children who are homeless or in transition. If you are looking for an easy, meaningful volunteer project, this is it. Individuals and organizations have four weeks to collect umbrellas and deliver them Nov. 13 to the Homeless Resource Center, 618 N. College St. (at the corner of North College and Ninth Street).
“Bea Thompson has been our strongest advocate, she goes above and beyond,” Tiamd. “The station supports the project with a live remote at the Homeless Resource Center, where Bea will broadcast from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. encouraging listeners to drop by with umbrellas.”
The following list of agencies will benefit from the umbrella drive: Homeless Resource Center, Men’s Shelter of Charlotte, A Child’s Place, Salvation Army Center of Hope, Urban Ministry Center, Crisis Assistance Center, Alexander Youth Network (The Relatives), Blessings In The Storm, McCreesh Place, Moore Place, YWCA Families Together and YWCA Women in Transition.
“This year, we would like to challenge fraternities, sororities, motorcycle clubs, Masons, Eastern Stars, churches, mosques, temples, everyone ... to donate umbrellas,” Thompson said.
“All groups and individuals who make donations will be included on the WBAV ‘Community Strong’ group list on their web-site.”
Thompson said she especially wants to challenge churches.
“We challenge large churches to donate at least 100 umbrellas and we challenge small churches to donate at least 50,” she said.
If you want to donate an umbrella before Nov. 13, they can be dropped off at the radio station, 1520 South Blvd Suite 300. There will be a collection barrel in the lobby.
Charlene Price-Patterson is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Charlene? Email her at CPPCityNews@gmail.com.
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