United Way Helps Feed the Hungry

By Wayne Howard - Staff Writer/ Lincoln Herald

Much-needed action was taken in the Oaklawn Community in and around the former Oaklawn Rosenwald School on Thursday as part of United Way of Lincoln County’s annual Day of Action. 

“For the last two years we did the Asbury Resource Center, so we looked at the community needs,” said United Way of Lincoln County executive director Kathy Vinzant, as she passed out bottles of water to the volunteers working on clearing the brush around the basketball court. “We realized that the Oaklawn community was a little short in support, so we wanted to bring the community together to provide a basketball court and soccer field. The kids have been playing in the streets which hasn’t been safe.”

More than 100 volunteers worked on projects including resurfacing the basketball court, cleaning brush and debris from around the court and installing new basketball hoops. The soccer field was striped and goal nets installed by Lincoln County Parks and Recreation. A gazebo was constructed, complete with picnic tables and trash receptacles. 

Inside the newly rehabilitated Oaklawn school building, which now houses Communities in Schools of Lincoln County, bookshelves were stocked with books that had been collected by Lincoln Cultural Center executive director Cathy Davis. In a separate room, a teacher resource center was stocked with school supplies.

Dr. Elaine Boysworth, retired assistant superintendent for the Lincoln County Schools District, was the driving force behind the teachers’ resource center.

“Billy (Marsh) and I have talked many times about how nice it would be to have something in Lincoln County like the Classroom Central we see advertised on television,” she said. “We talked about it, but we never had a location so when he moved here, he said, ‘I have a location.’ So here it is and it’s wonderful.”

School supplies like notebooks, pens, pencils, glue, rulers and highlighters are organized in clear plastic tubs on wire shelving in one of the rooms at Oaklawn School and a schedule will be set for Lincoln County teachers to be able to “shop” for the items they need for their students.

“It has been a long process but it’s all coming together now,” Communities in Schools executive director Billy Marsh said. “Once we have the teacher resource center stocked we should be able to open it in the next couple of days just in time for school to start next Monday.”

Financial support for the Day of Action projects was provided by over 20 different local businesses and organizations.

“From four to six we’ll have hot dogs and we’ve invited the community out,” Vinzant said. “We want to build that partnership and trust and let them know that we’re here for them and providing the resources that they need. The residents and staff of Hesed House of Hope were invited as well. We want them to feel the love – that’s what this day is about.”

On Tuesday, the Asbury Resource Center held its back-to-school open house, which was attended by 185 Lincoln County students who shopped for free clothing, shoes, toiletry items and more. In addition, representatives from 19 local agencies and organizations were on hand to provide information about community resources available to further assist students and families.