Local Church Tries to Raise $100,000 for Appalachia Mission

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Knoxville (WVLT) - A birthday bash for a West Knoxville teenager, the Knoxville News-Sentinel covered in detail is motivating one church to surpass the $100,000 spent on that elaborate event.

And as Volunteer TV's Stacy McCloud shows you, the mission is about much more than just money.

The story of a West Knoxville teen, having tens of thousands of dollars worth of fun celebrating 15 years of life, made lifestyle headlines in Knoxville.

On that same day, the life of Rachel Nobel, another Knoxville woman, was quietly remembered, at her funeral service.

To most, the two events seemed totally unrelated, but ministers at Cokesbury saw them as irony and opportunity.

"You have this 15-year-old's birthday party which was an unbelievable event, which got an enormous amount of media attention, then you have a lady that served 35 years to some of the poorest people in our country and the only recognition she got was a paid obituary," says Senior Associate Pastor Stephen DeFur.

DeFur says there is certainly nothing wrong with celebrating life in such an elaborate way.

"We want to be sure people understand this is not a judgment call on the family themselves."

Instead they want the headlines to serve as motivation for our community to give.

So they came up with an idea to raise $100,000 to give to the Red Bird Mission, the organization Nobel spent so many years serving.

"It serves people in the hollars, foothills and mountains of Eastern Kentucky. They are able to serve people who really don't have much resources to help themselves," DeFur says.

In addition, they hope their idea influences the community to lead the lifestyle Nobel did, and ask themselves, 'when I'm gone, have I done something that will outlive me?'

"There is a whole world out there that needs somebody to stop in and offer assistance so it's just a shift of focus from what's just about me to what can I do for those around me"

The end of October is the goal for raising the money.

So far the community has given over $20,000.

If you would like to give, send your check to:

Cokesbury United Methodist Church
Red Bird Mission
9908 Kingston Pike
Knoxville TN 37922

Or call the church at 693-0353.

Anything raised over $100,000 will go to Second Harvest Food Bank.