Cash Express lends helping hand

Loree Sledge, Lenoir City Cash Express manager, hauls a box of donations to the Boys & Girls Club of Loudon County.

Loree Sledge, Lenoir City Cash Express manager, last month lugged boxes overflowing with clothes and presents to the Boys & Girls Club of Loudon County in hopes of making children’s holiday season a bit brighter.

“We reached out to all of our customers,” Sledge said. “Our customers would go around taking stuff for their jobs. We’d go business to business, we’d let them know they can bring it down to (Cash Express) or we can bring it down to the Boys & Girls Club ourselves.”

Loudon Cash Express collected items for the Loudon Housing Authority through a raffle for a TV and PlayStation, bake sales and pictures with Santa.

The Loudon branch raised $600 along with their donations, and the extra money allowed manager Mindy Wagner to buy items like nonperishable food items or hygiene products.

“It’s just been a blessing every year. It’s gotten bigger every year,” Wagner said. “We’ve gotten the community involved more and more each year as we’ve done the toy and coat drive. For the one here in Loudon, we’ve always used the (Loudon) Housing Authority, so it’s something that we’ve always done with them. There’s a lot of children that live there that are in need. Families who are raised by their grandparents, by the elderly. It’s kind of spread out through a variety of families, not just children. We collect toys, coats, clothes, shoes. We take new and used items. We take hygiene products. We get something they can use not only at Christmas but all throughout the year.”

The Boys & Girls Club will be able to help those in immediate need and use some donations as prizes.

“We have an annual awards, so we celebrate the youths of the months in the different areas and we also have a holiday theme,” Dean Deatherage, Boys & Girls Club of Loudon County executive director, said. “The clothes and stuff, we’ll give out immediately to whoever needs it. We’ve given out a lot of gloves and jackets already. We’ll give out a lot of this as age appropriate toys for the kids to go get off the table after they talk to Santa, so that helps us.”

The donation symbolizes the community’s support for local nonprofits, Deatherage said.

“It just means that they’re doing good work for the people that need it the most,” he said. “People care enough about this community — that’s what I love about this community. Everybody pitches in, takes care of each other. ... It’s great.”