Compassion of the people

Shelves at the Hope House food pantry are well stocked thanks to generous donors. Food and monetary donations are always welcomed.

Shelves at the Hope House food pantry are well stocked thanks to generous donors. Food and monetary donations are always welcomed.

“Blount County is just like one big family. We are truly blessed. We have the most kind and compassionate people I have ever dealt with. To me, that is one of the greatest blessings Blount County has to offer.”

These words of Hope House director Bud Jones were repeated over and over as he wanted to thank citizens, law enforcement, other first responders, businesses, churches, and all who have so willingly given to help make it one of the Hope House’s best years, both in giving and helping those who have not faired well over the past year.

Since the pandemic invaded the world more than a year ago, many people have struggled financially. Loss of jobs or a decrease in working hours have created a tumbling block effect. People have struggled to make ends meet with many being unable to meet basic needs such as food and utilities.

In an effort to survive, many have reached out to the Hope House for help. And, because of the compassion of the people, the Hope House has been able to meet all of the legitimate needs requested of them.

For that, Jones is truly thankful. He said people will send in donations as little as $5 to a much larger amount. And for every donation, whether it is monetary, donated goods, or time, the gratitude he has for those who give is immeasurable. It makes his heart swell with pride to live in a community that gives so freely.

It is not uncommon for Jones to be approached in the parking lot or while out and about by people who want to help. From those who have a little to those who have a lot, it truly amazes him at the generosity of them all. He said, “Since its inception 22 years ago, it has evolved so much. You don’t even have to ask (for donations), they just bring it to us with many of them saying, ‘if you need more, just let me know.’”

It also amazes Jones that people who are on a very limited budget – and even previous Blount Countians – send in donations on a regular basis. They are familiar with the Hope House’s mission to help those in need and want to be a part of it.

As it has since its inception, the Hope House utilizes donations to help those who are struggling. They offer assistance through the food bank, helping with utility bills, serving the community children at Christmas, and so much more.

Jones, with tears welling up in his eyes, said, “The gratitude and compassion of the people have been unbelievable. It never fails, when people are having a hard time; someone comes forward to lend a helping hand. That’s why I do it.”