Skyline Supports Annual Mission of Hope Christmas Campaign
Last Friday, Skyline driver Eddie LeSueur and CDL trainee Ryan Ellison drove to the Mission of Hope warehouse to load a trailer full of food, clothing and Christmas presents. The trailer is destined for school children in Stinnett, KY as part of the Mission of Hope’s Christmas campaign. This is the nonprofit’s 23rd year collecting and delivering food, hygiene, new clothing and new toys to families in Appalachia. Each year, Skyline donates a tractor, trailer and drivers in support of this project.
Eddie LeSueur, Tennessee Road Team captain and Skyline driver of 32 years, has been working with the Mission of Hope campaign for years. While he drives the trailer to the Knoxville warehouse for loading, it’s Skyline president Jeff Reed who actually delivers the load to Kentucky. The snow storm this past weekend postponed the delivery until Monday, December 17 with the school’s presentation slated for Tuesday, 12/18/18.
Mitch Townley has been the children’s pastor at West Hill Presbyterian for more than 22 years. He says this is West Hills 16th year sponsoring a school which is testament to the validity of the project.
“The people who elect to get involved seem to stick around, and that should tell you something,” Townley said. “Returning members and volunteers are very faithful and dedicated. The churches who support this don’t quit for a number of years, but every year is a step of faith. Mission of Hope doesn’t know from one year to the next who is going to participate.”
While it may be a step of faith, it seems that the faithful show up in droves to make this huge project a success. What began helping 150 children in 1996 now serves over 18,000 children and their families. An organization could not execute this kind of undertaking without a small army of volunteers.
“It’s amazing to me how much these folks do,” says Stan Starr, volunteer coordinator for the team leaders and truck lines. There were no less than a dozen volunteers, many senior citizens, making short work of the task at hand. Skyline’s trailer was loaded in less than 15 minutes. Employees from KUB were on site volunteering their time to sort through isles and pallets of food and clothing.
In addition to the volunteers in the warehouse and the truck lines moving the freight, Mission of Hope relies on corporate and community sponsors to donate food, new clothing and gifts. Local churches will sponsor a school and provide shoes, socks or coats for the students, while sponsors and individual donors fill in the gaps.
Some church members and volunteers drive to the schools to be a part of the presentation. Townley explains that all the toys, clothes and presents are staged in the gymnasiums of the schools. Everything is covered in plastic and when the kids arrive there’s a big reveal.
“The kids are so grateful, thankful and well-mannered and it’s a big surprise when they reveal everything. I really like when they want to pick out gifts for someone else,” Townley said.
Click here to learn more about Mission of Hope, their Christmas Campaign and volunteer opportunities. If you have questions or want to get involved, please contact the Mission of Hope office at 865-584-7571