The Middlesborough-Bell County Public Library’s “52 Weeks of Giving” has been selected as the only finalist from Kentucky in Tom’s of Maine “50 states for Good” program. As a finalist the library program is in line to win $50,000 or one five $20,000 prizes.
If selected as one of the winner, the library will use the money to purchase a much needed van that would enable them to expand the program’s service area by allowing them to transport the young volunteers as they perform “one act of kindness” a week throughout the community.
The winner will be selected through a public vote at www.Facebook.comlTomsofMaine now through Oct. 9.
“With a simple click of a mouse local residents can help support this program and bring the funding to Middlesboro,” said Bell County Librarian Beverly Greene. “We ask everyone to vote for 52 Weeks of Giving … and since you can cast one vote a day, we ask that you remember us each day when you get on Facebook.”
The “50 states for Good” program seeks to uncover local nonprofit groups that address urgent community needs and engage volunteers to get the work done.”52 Weeks of Giving,” a group of 20 youngsters meeting at Middlesborough Library each Friday for the past two years to perform a weekly act of kindness, has performed over 250 volunteer hours.
“Our first year the kids logged 117 volunteer hours. The second year they put in 136 volunteer hours in Middlesboro,” said Children’s Librarian Cindy Wyatt who co-directs the program with Bookmobile Librarian Libby Edwardson.
52 Weeks of Giving strives to show children that even when you live somewhere small you can do something big and that each of act of kindness creates a ripple effect and touches the lives of so many. Over the course of the two years the group has raised money for childhood cancer, orphans in Uganda and Tsunami victims in Japan. They have donated items to the Cooperative Christian Ministry, Lighthouse Mission, Smokey Mountain Children’s Home and flood victims in Middlesboro. The young volunteers have raked leaves for and had lunch with elderly residents. They have reached out to families who have lost a loved one, sent letters of encouragement to families of fallen Navy Seals and taken cookies to local residents who have to work on Christmas Eve.
“Winning this money would show our kids in a tangible way that people believe in them. It would send the message that when they came on their birthdays, when they came on school breaks, when they came on Christmas Eve … people were paying attention and grateful for their dedication,” said Edwardson
“These kids have shown up every week for two years now and we are so proud to be heading into our third year with this wonderful program and these amazing local children.” added Wyatt.
Non-profits from each state were selected by an independent panel of judges, featuring actor and environmentalist Ian Somerhalder, Laura Burge of the social action network carez.corn, philanthropic leader and Huffington Post columnist Lisa M. Dietlin and Sam Davidson, president of Cool people Care. The public vote will determine six winning organizations to share $150,000 in funding. The organization with the most public support will receive $50,000 in sponsorship funding, while five additional organizations will each receive $20,000.
“We are thrilled to shine a spotlight on our ‘50 states for Good’ finalists and their meaningful work,” said Susan Dewhirst, goodness programs manager at Tom’s of Maine. “We can’t wait to see the lasting impact of healthy, human and environmental goodness that will come from funding our winning organizations’ projects.”
Tom’s of Maine, a leading natural products company focused on oral and personal care, is a longtime supporter of community involvement programs including clean waterways and greater access to affordable dental care, among many other programs. In addition, since its inception, the company has donated 10 percent of its profits back to the community.
For more information about 52 Weeks of Giving visit their Faceoook page (www.facebook.com/pages/Middlesboro-Bell-County-Public-Library-Childrens-Department/125599858618) or call Edwardson or Wyatt at 248-4812.