Topic: Newsletter

Newsletter, May 2014 May 20, 2014 at 07:14AM


Hello everyone,

I just wanted to express my appreciation to everyone involved in our first annual WE CARE GOLF TOURNAMENT. Even though our original date was rained out, the tournament proved to be a huge success on our make-up date of May 7th. We had 15 teams participate, 40 plus hole sponsors, nearly 30 businesses that donated gifts for the players and numerous volunteers that provided valuable support behind the scenes. I wanted to say a special “THANK YOU” to Ray Talley who was especially helpful on the day of the tournament and provided crucial guidance and advice on what we needed to do to make this event so successful. Again, thanks to everyone involved for making this such a “FUN” event and we are already looking forward to doing it again next year.

As most of you probably know, some of the money raised from the golf tournament is going to our MICRO-HOUSE project for displaced individuals and also some for SAFE HAVEN LIGHT, our home for displaced children ages 5-18. SAFE HAVEN LIGHT is a program that was originally initiated by Spring City businessman, Gary Venice, approximately five years ago. To say the least, it has taken considerable time for Gary’s dream to be realized and has, in the interim, come under the umbrella of WE CARE. It is here that we want to affirm that we believe 100% in the concept that SAFE HAVEN LIGHT was founded upon. Unfortunately, now that we have finally become licensed by the state as a non-custodial care GROUP HOME, this status provides no reimbursement for admissions. In order to continue the SAFE HAVEN LIGHT program, WE CARE has to reach out to the Rhea County Community to rally around this program with sustainable donations of approximately $5,000.00 each month. There has been a lot of effort put forth over the last several months to raise money, such as the golf tournament mentioned above, and we have experienced very gratifying results from this community. However, we have not raised nearly enough money to fund this program for the long term.

Where does this leave us? We may have to re-examine the future of SAFE HAVEN LIGHT as it now exists. We may have to re-format how we deliver this service. We may have to re-purpose the facility. Therefore, we solicit and invite community involvement and feedback involving the future of SAFE HAVEN LIGHT. Does WE CARE believe there is a need for this service? – Absolutely!! In numbers, is the need GREAT? – No! We now understand that we will serve perhaps between 8-10 children a year, and WE CARE simply cannot afford to carry this kind of financial commitment without significant and sustainable involvement by the Rhea County Community. If you have any questions or comments regarding this program, please contact ALTON STEEN through the main WE CARE office. The telephone number is (423)775-4333.

Thanks again to everyone involved for making the annual WE CARE GOLF TOURNAMENT such a great success!!

Alton Steen, General Manager




We Care Food and Housing Programs have had a busy month. We Care Food Pantry saw a slight increase in food needs in April due largely to many families having children home all day during spring break, therefore their food costs go up. We received another semi-truck load of food for our Food Club for our shoppers to benefit from. We have been also very busy trying to put our efforts into a successful Charity Golf Classic to benefit the homeless initiatives. It has been fun work going out into the community meeting the area residents and business owners. They have been so generous and kind in helping us as a community work towards a common goal of serving and helping those most in need. We plan another Community Homeless Meeting May 20th at 5:30 pm. This meeting we will invite attendees to walk and see the progress as well as discuss a chronological plan of action to get the micro home ready. In one short month the property has been cleared, site and prep work complete and our micro home have been moved to its permanent location. It is very exciting knowing how many families will receive relief from a horrible crisis of homelessness in this home. 



From the desk of Ina Ring - THRIFT CENTER DIRECTOR


REDUCE, REUSE, and RECYCLE. Those are the 3 R’s of recycling. WE CARE shares in this philosophy and practice of recycling.

My Mother grew up during the depression. Her family had it rough, so the 3 R’s were just a way of life for them. Her thrifty ways were passed on to me and my siblings. I, in turn, have incorporated them into daily operations at the THRIFT CENTER.

REDUCE: We try to reduce our use of water, electricity and supplies. The world at large is finding our natural resources are not limitless. It sounds trite, but it is true, that a penny saved is a penny earned.

REUSE: The THRIFT CENTER reuses plastic grocery bags in which to put customer’s purchases. The items purchased are all “reused” – items donated by individuals and businesses that realize there is more use left in the quality things they no longer need.

We also reuse cardboard boxes (e.g. banana boxes, apple boxes, large appliance boxes, etc. to store seasonal items (winter coats, blankets, holiday décor). Books and magazines, shoes and purses, kitchen items and what-knots are priced and put in boxes to make distribution onto the store shelves easier. Sturdy large boxes are used to hold the clothes, etc. for the “free box” area. (For those who haven’t been in the THRIFT CENTER – the “free box” area is a room at the front of the store where we put items that need repair, are out of season, have stains, etc. We give away upwards of 20,000 items each month from this area.

RECYCLE: Sometimes we get large appliances that would cost more to repair than they are worth; small appliances that the motor has long since given up any signs of life, single shoes, discarded school books, out-of-date encyclopedias, and no longer needed medical supplies. These are some of the items that other people and organizations find useful. We pass these items on to them.

We strive to be conservative with all our resources, make the best use of the variety of donations that come to us, and send as little as possible to the landfills (ALL PART OF THE 3 R’s), while presenting clean and affordable products to our customers.

We appreciate all you do to help us be conscientious stewards of your donations while enabling individuals to receive a HAND UP!



We Care April 2014 Newsletter April 15, 2014 at 08:23AM


We are constantly looking for affordable ways to get the word out about what WE CARE is doing in our community. We have been around since 1982 but most people think of the Thrift Center when they think of WE CARE. Indeed, the Thrift Center was our first service and has seen 73,300 customers and contributors in 2013. The Thrift Center is the foundation and well spring of many other services like the Food Pantry, the Emergency Assistance Program, the Hope Project, Affordable Housing, our return to emergency housing, our desire to provide low income senior housing, etc., etc. Hopefully, this electronic newsletter will keep you informed. I want to use this space to introduce you to our new General Manager, Alton Steen. He lived and worked in our community from 1980 until 1993; he recently retired as a project manager and is ready to help manage some of the many WE CARE projects.

Please read the latest from the Manager and Directors of WE CARE about what is going on now.


Walter Ring


Hi everyone,


As the new General Manager here at WE CARE, I have several goals that I have identified as being worthy of pursuing:

  1. The overall financial stability of the WE CARE organization and all of its programs. Nearly every charitable non-profit organization in the country struggles with finances and WE CARE is no different. But, because of the faithfulness and generosity of the people of Rhea County, we continue to move forward on a solid financial foundation.

  2. RE-establishing the identity of WE CARE to our community. As I have visited various people in the community, it has become clear to me that nearly everyone knows that WE CARE is here, and that they have a Thrift Center and a Food Pantry, but beyond that, people don’t know much about the positive impact that WE CARE is making in the lives of individuals every day. There seems to be a general misperception that the Thrift Center and Food Pantry funds our whole operation. While it is true that these two programs contribute nearly 80% of our operating budget, it is also true that less than 2% of our budget comes from cash donations…..and this is as area where we need to do better. In order for us to undertake some new initiatives for service, such as emergency housing for displaced children, transitional housing for the homeless and low income retirement homes for seniors, we need to dramatically increase our sustainable donations. So, we eagerly want to partner with you in this endeavor.

  3. Managing and coordinating all of WE CARE’S programs, making them as cost effective as they can be – while at the same time – fostering new programs that will have an affirmative and positive impact on the Rhea County Community.

To this end, we reach out to you to become actively involved in helping WE CARE fulfill its goals of uplifting people and empowering them to be the best that they can be.

Alton Steen
General Manager


I, Laura Olmstead, have been with We Care since September 2002. I moved to Dayton, Tennessee from Charleston, SC in May of 2002. After a history filled with financial and life struggles, which included homelessness, no food and feelings of complete and utter failure I went to college and decided to relocate to Dayton, TN for a fresh start. I was looking for a career that would utilize my strengths and experience in a way to really help people in a tangible real way while still leaving me the time necessary to raise my two children. And this it has been.


The food programs when I first began at We Care were serving on average about 150 families a month with a single supplemental bag. After I felt comfortable with the operations I extended the program to a 2 to 4 bag allotment a month per family depending on family size. We now serve about 550 families each month. We have also grown our Food Club to help serve more people throughout the month.


After being with We Care less than a year and regularly assisting with the Haven House Homeless Shelter I eventually began to oversee it and the operations. We worked with the intake process and began more actively case managing residents to end the cycle of homelessness and move them more often into permanent housing and keep them there. After many years, and countless lives and stories, We Care lost the lease to the home it had been using as a homeless shelter so that Dayton Housing Authority could use it as permanent housing being as the demand was so high. Fortunately, about the same time

We Care received a shell of a micro home as a donation that we could use, as one of many more, homeless homes.

  Micro home

We now are in the process of site preparation, placing the home on a foundation, finishing it out and putting it into operation.  We have been holding monthly community meetings to gather support and raise awareness. We are excited as we feel this new concept of how to serve the homeless will prove to be innovative and successful and be real change in people’s lives. 


From the desk of Ina Ring – THRIFT CENTER DIRECTOR


This portion of the newsletter will be dedicated for the THRIFT CENTER to communicate to you about sales events, unusual items available, information bullets and changes that occur (both physically and procedurally).

With the arrival of spring, we change from heavy, dark winter clothing to lighter weight, more colorful items. With Easter coming April 20th, we have a good selection of baskets and filling, lots of stuffed bunnies etc.

Easter baskets

                Easter                  Easter bunnies



BULLET INFO: WE CARE THRIFT CENTER is unique in that we have free clothing and other items. In 2013, we averaged giving 15,500 free items per month. We also averaged 6,100 sales transactions each month.

All of this is possible because of quality donations. We appreciate our donors and our customers.