FWKCC offers two options for open house

Farragut West Knox Chamber of Commerce again is opening its doors for the holidays with two opportunities on Tuesday, Dec. 7, to network at the Chamber office and benefit Childhelp Knoxville.

They can enjoy a breakfast option from 8 to 10:30 a.m., an after-hours option from 4 to 6:30 p.m. — or they can attend both.

“We’re really excited to be able to have it again,” FWKCC president/CEO Julie Blaylock said. “It is still going to be a little bit different (than the past), with respect to both the positive feedback we got from last year’s version of the event and also an attempt to keep gatherings a little bit smaller, just out of respect for the fact that we know it’s flu season again and we still want to make sure everybody’s safe and healthy.

“That’s why we’re splitting it into two events, so instead of doing a single evening event, we’re getting a smaller tent,” she added. “We’ll have a morning open house and also an evening one to give people maximum opportunities to come, visit with us, the staff, to visit with each other; and more importantly, to be a part of our 2021 holiday project, which is to help Childhelp Knoxville.

“We’ve got two parallel holiday give-back projects that we’re working on this year for Childhelp. One is the adoption of actual families or sibling groups – children they are servicing.”

As for other ways to help, “They can bring a single (toy) or multiple new, unwrapped toys or items for Childhelp’s Gift Closet,” Blaylock said.

Blaylock explained Childhelp serves children in the community who are victims of severe abuse or neglect. Last year, more than 1,100 come through its doors.

“Every time a child comes in … he/she gets to pick a gift from the toy closet,” she said.

“We adopted 19 families so far – for a total of 55 children,” Blaylock added. “Ages range from 17 years old to 4 weeks old.”

For more information on the open house, visit farragutchamber.com/. For more information on Childhelp, contact FWKCC at 865-675-7057 or e-mail info@farragutchamber.com

Each child could request up to seven items, and the businesses who adopted the families have committed to fulfill at least five of those items.

“I’m so proud of the response from our businesses again this year, especially how you know costs have gone up … toys are a little harder to come by,” she said. “We were a little bit concerned the response would not be as it had been in years past, but when we released the family lists, they were gone within days.

“The businesses just fell over each other to adopt them,” Blaylock added. “So much so that we had a waiting list, and I had to go back to Childhelp and actually request more families.”

Currently all the families have been adopted, the FWKCC head said, but there are still children coming through the organization’s system.

The businesses that adopted families will drop off the gifts at the Chamber office the day of the open house. The following day, Childhelp representatives and its partner organizations, Bikers Against Child Abuse, will pick up the toys.

During the breakfast session, attendees can expect to have breakfast with Santa, portrayed by Donnie Bentley of Bentley and Associates Home Inspection Services.

“He is Santa,” Blaylock noted. “He actually played Santa for organizations … they’re also very community centered as a business.”

Rothchild Catering & Conference Center is sponsoring the tent, and in the evening, beverages will be sponsored by Dixie Lee Wines & Liquors.

“We will have light refreshments as well,” Blaylock said. “I and my staff are actually grateful for the opportunity to see what the open house could look like in a different way last year, and because of the way we had to structure it, we got to put a much more significant focus on giving back and helping those in our community through our family adoptions.

“Last year, people came to the drop-in open house, and we were all just as happy to have a cup of coffee or hot cocoa together, really more to just visit, reconnect and reflect on how fortunate we are to help someone else at this time of year,” she added.

Contribute to Childhelp by stopping by the Chamber office, 11826 Kingston Pike.