Happy New Year, and welcome 2017!  What an amazing year it’s been for our Threads of Care family! Our joy of helping others has not only lived throughout the holiday season, but all throughout 2016 since our founding in May. We are so glad that we’ve been able to aid teens in need every single day and are looking forward to making an even greater impact against youth poverty this year.
2016 was definitely a year of development, and we are overjoyed that, for TOC, it went so well! In the Spring and Summer of 2016, our Founder and Executive Director, Zach Wolfson, worked on developing plans for the Threads of Care program, getting the word out and building the team across Middle Tennessee. In the late Summer, Zach and the TOC team finalized the plan for TOC’s implementation in Middle TN. In the Fall of 2016, 155 students throughout the Williamson County School district who were eager to help alleviate child poverty joined Threads of Care. Eventually, our Ambassadors founded 5 TOC Chapters at different high schools across the County. In these schools, TOC members helped spread awareness throughout their community, and also worked on integrating the program into their schools’ extracurricular activities. After gaining exposure through both club activity and publicity from local newspapers such as The Tennessean, we began our first in-school fundraiser where Ambassadors and members ran several bake sales. We raised $1,692 to buy new, clean socks and undergarments, which will soon be donated to teen-outreach organizations such as Soles4Soles, Nasvhille Family and Child Services, RoomInTheInn, and the Oasis Center in Nashville. In combination with the success of our first fundraiser, we planned and ran a county wide winter clothing drive. Our Chapters at Centennial, Independence, and Franklin High Schools did an amazing job of collecting donated items in mid-December. It was amazing to see how many people were eager to contribute and help! From start to finish, donors filled bins upon bins with new or gently used clothes and shoes! We gave the socks that we acquired through LIMBS International’s Socktober event, the clothing donated from parents and students, and the uniforms generously donated by Parker School Uniforms to children and teens in need! Also, we collected 550 pairs of shoes and sent them via our partner, Soles4Souls, to third-world countries and impoverished areas, such as Haiti, who’ve recently experienced natural disasters. While these disasters were quite saddening, we were able to do so much to help those affected! However, what the TOC team is most proud of is how many Nashville youth we were able to help during the holiday season.
Our goal for the 2016 TOC Winter Initiative was to collect 1,000 articles of clothing; we surpassed that number by approximately 235% (that’s 2,350 articles of clothing!), and we are excited to see how many teen’s lives we will impact in 2017! Our chapters are continuing to expand,  we are excited to launch an additional clothing drive in Page and Ravenwood this February. Currently, RHS’s Chapter President and Vice President, Joe Roebuck and Pranav Saravanan are working hard to get this going.  PHS’s Chapter President, Hayley Rutland will also have the Patriot’s program ready soon! The TOC team has also branched to Brentwood High School and plans to establish a new chapter there too! Now that the Threads of Care program is up and running, the team has decided to implement semester-based Focuses; this semester’s Focus is Efficiency. In order for our program to become more efficient, we will work on creating more effective processes of fundraising, awareness building, and distribution throughout our schools and community.
Also, we want to welcome as many new members into the Threads of Care family as possible! If you have a passion for helping others, and want to get involved, feel free to email us.  You can also donate on the homepage of this website. All funds go toward the funding of Threads of Care and the purchasing of clothing such as as socks and underwear. We also would like to welcome blog posts from those outside the TOC community.  If you have an experience you want to share, please contact me at (615) 260-6463, or Zach Wolfson at (615) 807-8524. We would love to hear from you and share your story or experience with a wider audience. We are teens helping teens, one thread at a time, and we can’t wait to help even more youth this year!

With love,
Clare Baldridge