Projects look to bring out spirit of Easter in region

Sue Guinn Legg • Mar 21, 2013 at 2:28 PM

Emma Stacy, a 9-year-old Colonial Heights girl with spina bifida and a budding passion for tennis, is in need of a special sports chair.

Janie Whittimore, a lifelong friend of Emma’s family and owner of Sincerely Chocolate in Johnson City, is doing what she does best to help raise the $3,000 needed to improve Emma’s mobility on the court. And she’s inviting chocolate lovers everywhere to join her.

“Emma is amazing,” Janie said. “She doesn’t let anything get her down. She loves sports and she’s started taking tennis lessons.”

When Emma’s mom, Erica, mentioned to Janie how much she loves to play but can’t move the way she needs to without a special chair, Janie said her immediate response was “Well, let’s get her one.”

Chocolate is Janie’s bread and butter. Easter is coming and her offerings include almost anything chocolate anyone could want in a basket. And for every order she receives by Saturday, 20 percent of the proceeds will go toward the purchase of Emma’s new chair.

Sincerely Chocolate’s specialties are butter creams and truffles. But this week, Janie is busy fashioning chocolate Easter treats, chocolate baskets, chocolate eggs, chocolate bunnies, chocolate bunny boxes and much more, which can all be viewed and ordered at the Sincerely Chocolate Facebook page, by emailing sincerelychocolate@yahoo.com or calling Janie at 416-9552.

Meanwhile, Erica reports, Emma made a trip to Carr Rehab in Knoxville last week to be measured and fitted for a chair with a broader base and sloped wheels that will allow her to turn 180 degrees on a dime. She’s continuing to make good progress with her tennis coach, Greg Lumb at InsideOut Tennis. And their family’s great hope is to raise the money and have Emma in her new chair by her 10th birthday May 15.

For those who wish to help without a chocolate order, direct donations may made by mail to Sincerely Chocolate, 1503 Lester Harris Road, Johnson City, TN 37601, payable to Erica Stacy and earmarked for “Emma’s Chair.”

Easter preparations are also under way this week at Good Samaritan Ministry.

The ministry is working to provide Easter baskets for 500 children and teens this year, each loaded with special candy messages and age-appropriate stories of the love and hope delivered through the death and resurrection of Christ.

For a third consecutive year, Lifeway Bible Bookstore is partnering with the ministry to provide Bibles for each child, teen and family included in the outreach. But at this point, donations to provide baskets are woefully lacking.

At $15 per basket, the total cost of the distribution will be $7,500. And as of Wednesday, less than 30 children and teens had been sponsored.

Good Samaritan director Sarah Wells said children throughout our community and their families enjoy the Lifeway Bibles each Easter and the ministry’s concern this year is for its ability to pay for the baskets.

“Donations are at an all-time low for most agencies and ministries,” Wells said. “We are having a hard time raising the money for the baskets. We hate to leave any child out, however, the donations are just not coming in.”

The ministry is asking those who may be able to help to remember the community’s needy children and what it is like for a child to receive an Easter basket and know that someone cares for them.

Donations to Good Samaritan Ministries earmarked for “Resurrection Baskets” may be made online at goodsamjc.org or by mail to P.O. Box 2441, Johnson City, TN 37605. The baskets will be distributed Easter Sunday.

If there is a need or a project in your neighborhood the Good Neighbor column can assist with, contact Sue Guinn Legg at slegg@johnsoncitypress.com, P.O. Box 1717, Johnson City, TN 37605 1717 or 929-3111, ext. 335.

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