Speedway Children's Charities shifting gears, The River Ministry for Women finds new way to help

Sue Guinn Legg • Updated May 6, 2020 at 11:08 PM

With one of its most profitable fundraising months of the year sent to the pits by the COVID-19 postponement of the spring NASCAR races at Bristol, Speedway Children’s Charities is shifting gears

Thursday, May 7, from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m., those who wish to help more than 100 nonprofit agencies serving children across Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia are invited to a drive-thru red bucket brigade to be set up at the main entrance to the raceway on U.S. Highway 11E.

Presented by Drake’s restaurant at The Pinnacle shopping center in Bristol, the drive-thru will include free AHA-flavored sparkling water from Coca-Cola for anyone with any amount of coins, bills or checks to drop in the SCC’s familiar red buckets.

For those who prefer, online donations to the special fundraising event can be made at the SCC website, speedwaycharities.org/bristol/.

Claudia Byrd, executive director of Speedway Children’s Charities’ Bristol chapter, said, “Our popular Red Bucket Brigade program has always been a vital activity in our efforts to raise money to assist children in our community, and we appreciate our partner Drake’s participation in this drive-thru effort.

“We could not do what we do without the generosity or support from everyone in this region, as well as race fans from around the country, and we hope to have a big turnout on Thursday, May 7, to provide much-needed assistance to the children in our area.”

The River ministry for women in downtown Johnson City is also finding new ways to help during the COVID outbreak that will keep its doors closed through the end of May.

On Wednesday, The River kicked off a new outreach to help low-income families with kids shut-in at home. Fifty bags loaded with art supplies and fun activities to keep children busy and creatively entertained were distributed at The River, which hopes to repeat the distribution every other week.

Stacy Larsen, director of The River, explained, “When disaster strikes, it is the most vulnerable, already living in tough circumstances, that are at risk. Low-income families have less capacity, resources and opportunity to weather the negative economic and social impacts, handle the increased stress and burden caused by the pandemic and navigate the responsibility of homeschooling.

“The River wants to help alleviate the stress that parents and children might be experiencing in their home environment and mitigate the potential of negative effects by providing free Art Bags for kids aged 3-10.”

The next River Art Bags distribution will be distributed on May 20 from 9 a.m. until noon at the ministry at 125 W. Main St.. Children do not need to be present to receive a bag.

For those who wish to help with the outreach, The River is accepting monetary donations to help buy supplies for the bags. Checks may be mailed to The River, 125 W. Main St., Johnson City, TN 37604, or donations may be made online at theriverministryforwomen.com.

If there is a need or a project in your neighborhood the Good Neighbor column can assist with, contact Sue Guinn Legg at 423-722-0538, [email protected] or P.O. Box 1717, Johnson City, TN 37605.