Saturday, February 13, 2010

Belle Creek: a Community with Open Hearts and Open Arms

The goal wasn't lofty.  It wasn't insurmountable.  But to a young man undergoing intensive chemotherapy and trying to support a young family, $2500 is a lot of money to pay out of pocket for his deductible.
Enter Belle Creek residents and friends.  When Jamie Latham Shaw put together the spaghetti dinner fundraiser to help our her friend, she was hoping for about 250 people at $10 a plate.
"I figured that was a reasonable goal." says Jamie.  "Between the neighbors and Levi's church, we could likely get that many here."
And how.
As the sun was setting on that February evening, people began to pour into the Belle Creek Family Center to show their support.  Donations of food poured in in the weeks leading up to the event from community members and restaurants alike, including food from Olive Garden.
A silent auction was arranged, with everything from babysitting services to Arbonne gift baskets to gym memberships.
"It looked almost like a flea market in here," commented Jamie afterword.  "People were amazing.  Every last item was bid on.  The people in this neighborhood are awesome!"
She went on to say that most people who won their auction items wrote checks to support Levi for more than their winning amounts.
The look on Levi's face was priceless.  If you have ever met Levi, you have seen his infectious grin.  It was like a beacon of warmth and light that night.  "People were incredible," he said. "I met people from the neighborhood that I never even knew.  They made a point of coming up to introduce themselves and say they just wanted to help out.  I feel so incredibly blessed."
At last count, Levi thinks there were about 500 people here, not counting kids.  "But I still haven't gone through all the pictures," he says with another one of his smiles.
And that goal of $2500?  "Well, let's just say that we went well beyond that," Jamie says with a laugh.  "Levi won't have to worry about his deductible, and he can concentrate his energy on getting better."
This is why Belle Creek residents love it here.  Levi was just beside himself at the turnout.   But Jamie put it best when she said, "people just want to give.  When so many people out there are trying to make ends meet, people want to be a part of something larger than themselves and give whatever they can.  Every little bit makes a difference."

Want to help out?  Chick Fil A, one of the generous donators at Levi's dinner, has taken it upon itself to host another fundraiser, February 20 at 5pm.  

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