published Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

The Caring Place in Cleveland, Tenn., is seeking volunteers

Reba A. Terry enters the Clothing Donation center at The Caring Place in Cleveland, Tenn., in this file photo.
Reba A. Terry enters the Clothing Donation center at The Caring Place in Cleveland, Tenn., in this file photo.
Photo by Tim Barber /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

To donate or to seek help, The Caring Place, at 130 Wildwood Ave., is open from 9 a.m. to noon Tuesday through Fridays and from 6 -8 p.m. on Tuesday.

  • photo
    The Caring Place warehouse manager Sheila McElhaney tapes boxes together inside the food distribution center at the Cleveland ministry in this file photo.
    Photo by Tim Barber /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

  • photo
    Reba Terry and Ted Asprodites with The Caring Place's walk-in coolers in this file photo.
    Photo by Randall Higgins /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

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CLEVELAND, Tenn. -- The Caring Place needs volunteers and donations of food, clothing or money as the community enters the holiday season, officials say.

"Of course, these last few years have not been easy for anyone. But the poor get poorer. The poor get hit by the tornadoes," Christy Ritzhaup of the Caring Place told MainStreet Cleveland members Monday.

The Caring Place is a non-denominational consortium of 53 churches, founded in 2000 with support from volunteers and donors that includes individuals and businesses. It accepts donations of food, clothing and money and distributes 20-pound bags of groceries to clients, twice a month for families and once a month for others. Clients can also choose clothing in a store-like atmosphere.

With the sagging economy, the Caring Place is seeing more people in tight financial situations, either laid off, of with their hours cut or forced to work minimum wage jobs that don't cover the bills, she said.

"The people we are serving, are working or want to work or can't work," Ritzhaup said.

Some Cleveland neighborhoods will be notified soon of another project for The Caring Place -- caroling for cans. Carolers will be in neighborhoods accepting canned food.

MainStreet Cleveland itself is going into the holidays with the national "Shop Small Saturday" campaign. Shoppers are urged to shop at local small businesses on Saturday.

"Just one purchase can really make a huge difference," said MainStreet Executive Director Sharon Marr.

Cleveland's Christmas Tree Lighting and Carols will be December 2 at 6 p.m. The event takes place downtown in front of the Courthouse Annex. It is followed by reverse caroling, where the visitors walk from one downtown church to another to hear the local choirs. The Christmas parade is 6 p.m. on Dec. 3.

Contact Randall Higgins at or 423-314-1029.

about Randall Higgins...

Randall Higgins covers news in Cleveland, Tenn., for the Times Free Press. He started work with the Chattanooga Times in 1977 and joined the staff of the Chattanooga Times Free Press when the Free Press and Times merged in 1999. Randall has covered Southeast Tennessee, Northwest Georgia and Alabama. He now covers Cleveland and Bradley County and the neighboring region. Randall is a Cleveland native. He has bachelor’s degree from Tennessee Technological University. His awards ...

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