SMYRNA — Upon hearing that Fresh Start Resource Center was the recipient of a $20,000 donation from The Holly’s Club of Smyrna Managing Director Donna Carroll was feeling overwhelmed, but in the best way.
“We were completely overwhelmed, stunned and speechless by the generosity of the club and all the hard work that they put into this auction,” Ms. Carroll said. “We are just so very blessed and grateful to receive this donation.”
The Holly’s Club of Smyrna, a women’s charitable organization that aims to support people and families in the community, recently held a virtual version of its annual Spring Fling fundraiser after it was postponed for a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Despite COVID-19, this year’s silent auction, which was held through Facebook for a week in mid-May, ended up raising more money than any previous spring flings, Ms. Carroll said.
The Holly’s Club followed up with an event June 17 at Painted Stave Distilling in Smyrna to present Fresh Start Resource Center with the donation.
Fresh Start Resource Center is a nonprofit with a mission of providing mental, physical and spiritual support to the Smyrna community and surrounding areas by way of providing basic needs and resources, its website states. During the school year, the center provides weekly food giveaways on Fridays. Clothing, blankets and other necessary items are also distributed as available.
This donation will be used as a kickstarter in bringing the center’s goal of having a brick and mortar location to fruition — a goal staff has held since the center’s inception in 2018. Ms. Carroll said staff is currently working with the town of Smyrna to find a building that would fit the center’s needs.
“This donation is going to go a long way into helping us secure a building,” Ms. Carroll said. “It’s huge in our fundraising efforts, to say the least.”
Ms. Carroll said having a physical building to serve as home base for the center would mean being able to offer computer access, a place to do laundry or take a shower as well as a meeting place for community groups.
“We have a lot that we want to put into this building,” Ms. Carroll said. “To have a brick and mortar place where we can be reached, rather than just telephone calls and meeting people on the fly.”
Ms. Carroll said the center’s staff members are still processing all the ways they will allocate the money — noting they did not expect to be on the receiving end of such a large sum. She said some of the money will likely be put toward the center’s efforts to support the community by purchasing items like food, prescriptions and bus passes, or paying for emergency hotel stays.
“We’re still really trying to take it in,” Ms. Carroll said. “We had no idea what we were being presented with. We’re very grateful.”