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Carter County Commission hears emotional discussions about hungry and endangered children and neglected dogs and cats

John Thompson • Aug 19, 2019 at 11:11 PM

ELIZABETHTON — Hungry and vulnerable children, along with neglected dogs and cats, were the emotional topics that dominated the time for citizens to address the Carter County Commission on Monday evening.

One of the most emotional discussions was given by a family member of the late Glenda Taylor DeLawder, who left her million-dollar estate to the welfare of Carter County cats and dogs, with a significant portion of the inheritance going to provide improvements to the Carter County Animal Shelter.

The relative told the Carter County Commission that the family has worked to carry out DeLawder’s wishes, but the relative was disappointed in some of the results so far. She said that despite the donations, the shelter still has needs.

She said the alternate income source was not an excuse for the government to cut back on its funding.

She asked the commissioners to tour the shelter and see the needs. “We need your help down there,” she said, adding that the shelter needed a project manager to oversee the building projects that are being done.

The next private citizen was Laura Garland, who told the commissioners that she believed the Recovery Soldiers Ministry was in violation of property codes in locating transient housing in her neighborhood.

Garland said the ministry was placing clients in mobile homes on a 0.6-acre lot. She said that was in violation of zoning code. She also said that registered sex offenders were being housed in the trailers in a neighborhood with small children.

Angie Odom, the director of the TLC Community Center, spoke about the number of Carter County children who do not get enough to eat. One of Odom’s ministries is a summer feeding program for children who normally rely on school lunches to meet their needs.

Her program takes over during the months when school is not in session. The program provided 80,000 meals in Carter County this poset summer and also provided meals in Bristol.

In a scheduled part of the agenda, Rhonda P. Chafin, executive director of the Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee, talked about the service the agency does throughout the eight-county area of the First District and particularly in Carter County.

Chafin complemented Odom for the work her organization has done,  saying that was work the food bank did not have to do. But she said the food bank has a similar program of providing children who are not getting enough to eat with backpacks of food.

Chafin gave the county commissioners a history of the agency, emphasizing that it got its start in Elizabethton on the property of the former Topper Egg Company. Despite that connection, she said the Second Harvest Food Bank has not received any funding from the county commission during the time she has led it.

In 2018, Second Harvest provided 1,305,462 meals to Carter County through 11 partner agencies, eight mobile pantry sites, 10 summer feeding sites and 552 Food for Kids distributions.

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