Topic: Newsletter

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.