'The 100' lifts Thanksgiving spirits

By DANIEL GUY Staff Photographer and RICK NORTON Associate Editor
Posted 11/19/17

The 100 Black Men of Bradley County once again found a way to support the  Cleveland community by delivering Thanksgiving food baskets to families in need on Saturday.“This is the first …

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'The 100' lifts Thanksgiving spirits

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The 100 Black Men of Bradley County once again found a way to support the  Cleveland community by delivering Thanksgiving food baskets to families in need on Saturday.

“This is the first year” of the Thanksgiving food basket initiative, said Oscar Kelley, 100 BMBC vice president and chairman of the food basket drive.  “It will be an annual event.”

The families receiving these food baskets are selected based on need and, in most cases, they are families that include children, Kelley said.

The baskets were obtained from Cooke’s Food Store  in Cleveland from a list of chosen items provided by Kelley.  The baskets not only included the usual fruit items like bananas, cantaloupes and bags of oranges and apples, but also some “fun” items for the kids like candies, sodas and cookies.

The baskets were funded from the 100 Black Men of Bradley County’s regular treasury. There were a total of 10 baskets created for this inaugural event.

The 100 Black Men of Bradley County is a chapter of the 100 Black Men of America and is focused on “educating and empowering youth and their families,” while creating a positive impact within the community.

The much-respected local organization, which is also known as “The 100,” has been an integral part of the Cleveland and Bradley County community for more than 20 years. The group is best known for its mentoring services and scholarship programs; however, over the past few years members have also expanded the group’s horizons by providing an annual fall health fair at the Bradley Square Mall.

As part of its mentoring outreach, “The 100” sponsors a weekly Friday morning gathering at Cleveland Middle School in which members provide speakers and support to youngsters.

“The Thanksgiving food baskets are another way of reaching out to our community, and providing support — in just about any way we possibly can — to our neighbors, some of whom need that kind of outreach,” Kelley stressed. “Thanksgiving is a wonderful season, and it’s made even more so because of the opportunities it brings to us all.”

Kelley added, “One of those opportunities is to find a way to make life just a little bit easier for anyone who can use a helping hand. We’re as proud as we can be to be making this event possible, and we certainly hope we’re making a small difference in the lives of others.”

Kelley, who is also a longtime member of the Bradley County Election Commission, said sometimes it’s not just about the food or the gift or the physical visit.

“Sometimes it’s about showing others that they are not alone, and that others in their community — whether it be strangers or friends — care about them,” Kelley said.

He added, “That’s what Thanksgiving is all about. That’s what we of The 100 Black Men of Bradley County always want to do.”

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