SEVIER CO. Tenn. This week, we are spotlighting the Volunteer Spirit of a woman who's always had it in her. She started by doing mission trips in the jungles of South America. Once she could no longer travel, she turned her focus back to Tennessee. Not to her home of Sevier County, but to one of the poorest areas in Tennessee.
Mary Patterson is in charge and knows what she wants. She runs the Appalachian Relief Fund out of Sevier County; a charity helping neighbors in Scott County.
"This year the kids will be getting new Reeboks, new socks, new underwear, school supplies, toiletry items. I've never been able to do that before," says Patterson, the founder of the organization.
Making it part of bible camp, the youth of Sevier First United Methodist, raised donations including money in a unique way.
"The church says for three dollars you can throw a pie in the preachers face, or the youth director, or children's director. So we raised $450," says Jeff Lambert the pastor at Sevier First United Methodist church.
Even Patterson got into the fun.
"I put the pie on the pastor's head. A lot of them put it in his face. I didn't do that."
The Appalachian Relief Fund has been around for several years, but it really caught on this year. So much so that Patterson's little trailer is overflowing with donations. They had to rent a truck to get it filled up and up to Scott County.
Filling up school kits, toiletry bags, and a truck the youth went to Scott County to meet their neighbors.
"It is a good feeling knowing that these kids are going to go back to school with new shoes, new socks, school supplies and everything," says Patterson.
"Mary, it seems like she's just going around looking for something that she can do to give to somebody. She has a big heart I'll tell you what, she does," says Dwight Murphy with Winfield Baptist Church in Scott County.
A heart that's full not just when it's back to school, but all year long.
"When you go up there and help all these kids and you see the smile on their face at Christmas time that makes it all worthwhile," says Patterson.
Mary Patterson is now collecting for Christmas and Thanksgiving. If you would like to catch the Volunteer Spirit you can make donations of coats to the Appalachian Relief Fund. Contact Mary by visiting the Facebook page by clicking here.