It was late in the evening when they called. It didn’t matter because we were ready. The volunteers were in place and the Department of Children’s Services relayed the message that they were in route. Annie was 10 with an in charge attitude. She scuffled through our door with her 8 and 4-year-old brothers in tow. The case worker informed us that the children had been neglected and they came from unimaginable living conditions. They didn’t have to tell us anything. The children’s faces were smeared with dirt, clothes miss matched, wrongly sized and inappropriate for the current season.
As the children get settled, we checked for clothing sizes, call Salvation Army to provide new pants, shirts, underwear, socks and shoes and then, one at a time, they march off to the tub for a nice hot bath. They loved the bath. But even more than the bath, they love their new pajamas we keep in the back, in just their size. Brand new, out of the package. Each one as individual as the next. Annies top was white with princesses and matching bottoms and that she showed off with a quick twirl and dance step. 8 year old Evan had rocket ships and 4 year old Michael sported teddy bears as they sat down at the table for a nice hot meal. The shine on the faces of these jewels was not only from a hot bath and a full belly, but also the joy of their first brand new pajamas.
The House of Hope provides pajamas for every child that comes through our house. We supplied pajamas to over 400 children last year alone. We are able to bring some joy to them thanks to Teresa Melton and Donna (Gigi) Parris. They have donate all the pajamas to the House of Hope for the past 5 years. Every one is hand made size for ages 2 to 16 in a large variety of designs.
We have been so blessed with the gifts from Teresa and Gigi that we decided to take a trip to their home and see how in the world they dedicate themselves to this amazing undertaking.
As we began to visit with this pair, the passion for this PJ ministry unfolded. Teresa Melton, an avid sewer for over 18 years had always made her own grandchildren’s pajamas. They still sleep in “Nannas” Pjs no matter how old they are. About 5 years ago she began thinking about needy children going to bed cold and had a desire to help. She would see pajamas in the store and go home and sew them herself. What was so impressive is that she not only makes them for the House of Hope but also for friends, neighbors and any other children that wants them. Yes, it’s a full time job but no worries, after a long binge of sewing, they treat themselves to a dinner at Joe’s Crab Shack, rest and start again refreshed.
Gigi has an 18-year-old grandson at home and an 11 year old grandson that she received custody of when the child was 4 months old. She had to leave a full time job to raise the children and when the youngest started school, Gigi began sewing with Teresa. She has a passion for seeing joy on the face of a child. This ministry hits close to home for her and she has no plans to slow down.
The pajamas are one of a kind. No one else makes them like Teresa and Gigi. One of our co workers was camping recently and next to them was a foster family and all the kids had on Teresa’s and Gigi’s Pjs.
These PJs have been such a blessing! It doesn’t take a whole lot to make a needy abused child smile; the things we take for granted. That smile is worth a million bucks.
The Fairfield Glade Community Church Women’s Fellowship sponsored a Fall into Fashion event on September 14, 2016. The theme this year was “born-again” fashion. All clothing for the fashion show was provided by Threads of Hope Thrift Store and their unique talent to give an excellent show of the upper end of resale fashion.
The House of Hope was just one of the many charities that benefitted from the fashion show. Denise Melton was a guest to speak about our mission and programs that have been developed through the House of Hope as a result of the needs of the community.
Not only was there a fantastic display of quality clothing but also beautiful accessories such as jewelry, scarves, purses and shoes to complete any outfit. And if that wasn’t incredible enough, we also showcased floral arrangements and wreaths to be given away as door prizes.
I can’t write this article without mentioning the fact that our volunteers at the Threads of Hope are so talented in creating floral arrangements, designing wreaths and even hand making scarfs and belts from materials in the store. I am truly fascinated at the gifts these people have and are using them to benefit the children of Cumberland County.
Congratulations to Lindsey Sherrill, 2016 graduate of Cumberland County high School. She is one of 3 recipients of the Hope Manning Scholarship given out every year through the House of Hope.
Ms. Sherrill received $1,000 scholarship toward college expenses. She will attend UTC in the fall and major in biology.
Isabel Gray is the SMHS Scholarship recipient. She will attend Christian Brother's University with a major focus of study in biology/pre-med.
Alyssa Fuller is the recipient from Phoenix School. She will attend Roane State Community College and major in Physical Therapy Assistant.