H.O.P.E. teaches important skills such as managing money and how to eat healthy on a budget. It also teaches participants how to give back to the community that helped build them.
“We take the kids to Food City for two-day classes in a program titled ‘Hope for Health,’” explains Robinette. “They take a tour of the store, then on day three they shop for and buy food to take home. They are given $20 in total — $10 (worth of the food they buy) goes home with them, the other $10 goes to churches serving the community.” The program helps the kids learn about health, budget and giving back all in one setting.
Thankfully, the work H.O.P.E. is doing does not go unnoticed.
H.O.P.E. was the fourth “Big Give” recipient from 100+ Tri-Cities Women Who Care. H.O.P.E. received a $10,000 award for its contribution to the community and to kids.
“They called me and told me about the nomination,” starts Robinette. “A lady nominated H.O.P.E. and two other programs. It was a fast process. After the presentation and question-and-answer part, we found out that same night.”
Robinette and other H.O.P.E. board members and volunteers have many ideas for how to put it to good use. “We are so excited! We will be able to reach more kids in the community,” exclaims Robinette. “And some of the money will be used for Hope for Health and other programs.”
Last year, the building H.O.P.E. was using was damaged when a fire broke out within the duplex. It caused a lot of smoke damage, prompting Robinette and H.O.P.E. to relocate their services from Central Baptist Church. “Lowes has helped us with whatever we needed from the beginning,” says Robinette. “The rooms are much bigger. We did lose a kitchen, but we have a fridge and microwave.” H.O.P.E. continued its ministry in its new space at 618 Watauga Street in Kingsport.
So, what’s next for H.O.P.E.?
On Dec. 4, H.O.P.E. hosted Christmas Party at its new office.
On Dec. 8, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., the kids are hosting a fundraiser for a mission trip at Taylored Venue and Events in downtown Kingsport. Part of this includes an opportunity to have brunch with Santa. There will also be a photo booth where you can have your photo taken with Santa himself. Tickets to the event are $15.
“We encourage mission trips. We go to colleges as well as other places,” Robinette says. “We tell the kids you always have it a little better (than others) and want them to appreciate the town they live in.”
Another event H.O.P.E. will be hosting is a 2020 vision project called “Spreading Hope,” which starts the first Saturday in January. This project collects luggage to give to social workers for kids they will be taking out of the home. “We want the kids to leave for their new homes with dignity,” explains Robinette. “We want them to leave with luggage and not trash bags.” Pillowcases will be given so each child has something of their own. Just Store It lets H.O.P.E. collect and store the luggage for the project there. If you have luggage to donate, you can drop it off at Just Store It on Jan. 4.
If you are looking to volunteer or know of a child who would benefit from H.O.P.E., contact Stella Robinette at (423) 276-6541. H.O.P.E. services all kids who need their assistance. Here, no H.O.P.E. is lost.