By MARIE NESMITH
Striving to generate $50,000 in 50 days, Hickory Log Vocational School’s Jubilee Fundraiser will wrap up Aug. 22. The online benefit, which launched July 4, is coinciding with the personal care home’s 50th anniversary.
“I am beyond appreciative of every donation that we receive at Hickory Log,” said Kevin Barnes, who became Hickory Log’s executive director in late 2019. “Serving those with disabilities is not at the forefront of most people’s minds when they think about where to donate. We realize that Hickory Log is a niche community, so when we receive support, usually it comes from individuals with a personal connection to Hickory Log.
“Our Jubilee 50th Anniversary Fundraiser is not only designed to raise funds but also to raise awareness. Hickory Log’s board of directors, staff and volunteers know the value that our services bring to our residents, their families and our community. But we’re hoping this fundraiser will create a greater awareness of Hickory Log’s presence and our need for support.”
In addition to supporting the organization, the Jubilee Fundraiser’s donors have the opportunity to win giveaways each week. Every Saturday, the benefit’s weekly prizes are announced on social media — website, Facebook and Instagram. For each $10 donation, a contributor receives one ticket.
“The Jubilee Fundraiser has received great responses from businesses and people in the community,” said Emily Dowse, Hickory Log’s director of marketing and development. “When informing people about Hickory Log, most of the responses have been, ‘How can we help?’ — which has been amazing.
“Our goal is to raise $50,000, and so far, just over $17,000 has been raised. Our success with the fundraiser, thus far, would not have been possible without the support from local businesses and people in the community.”
Situated at 3680 Highway 411 in White, Hickory Log was established in 1970 to meet the needs of Bartow residents who before had to relocate to out-of-county facilities.
The personal care home provides intellectually and developmentally disabled men numerous offerings, such as shelter, meals, vocational skills, job training and community outings. Some of the common diagnoses of Hickory Log’s residents include learning disabilities, epilepsy, autism and traumatic brain injuries.
With shelter-in-place measures still required for personal care homes, Hickory Log’s residents have been unable to work since March 13.
“There are a few reasons that we encourage everyone to participate in this fundraiser,” Barnes said. “The primary motivation for donation is that each gift is an investment in human life. Most of our residents have called Hickory Log home for decades.
“For some, this is the only stable home that they’ve ever known in their life,” he said, adding Hickory Log currently serves 19 men. “The purpose of Hickory Log’s existence is to love all people with a heart of compassion, service and grace, and our mission is to provide a safe place to call home for men with special needs. Every donation ensures the success of our purpose and mission.”
Along with the nonprofit’s overall operations, the Hickory Log Jubilee Fundraiser’s proceeds will go toward its future Hickory Hickory L.O.D.G.E.S. (Loving Others’ Disabilities Guarantees Everyone’s Success).
“We plan to build multiple four-bedroom lodges where high-functioning disabled persons can live in relative independence,” Barnes said. “This plan will allow Hickory Log to have a greater footprint in the special needs community by becoming a waiver provider, which will increase the services we provide and create more living space to expand our resident population.
“So instead of being in our current situations where we have only one facility that houses men only, our new plan will create many facilities with the option of housing men and women. The construction of the lodges is three years out and all of our fundraising efforts either directly or indirectly support this goal.”
For more information about Hickory Log and its Jubilee Fundraiser, call 770-382-6655 or visit its website, www.hickorylog.org, or Facebook page.
“Thank you to all who have been supporting and participating in the Hickory Log Jubilee Fundraiser,” Dowse said. “Your investment in the men and mission of Hickory Log is greatly appreciated. Our ambition is to grow and help more of the special need’s community and with the support of people and businesses, that will be possible.”