Cynthia Harris was born and raised in the Buckeye State, but upon moving to Tennessee, it did not take long for her to exhibit the volunteer spirit.
In fact, for the past three years, she and her husband have hosted an event at their home for residents of Rutherford County who are not originally from Tennessee.
“There are a lot of people, including myself, who live here but are not from here,” said Harris, who giggled at the idea of her guests all wearing shirts depicting where they're from, whether it was Washington or Wisconsin or wherever else they came from. It gave everyone an opportunity to mingle with other newcomers and network and, perhaps, develop some new friendships — business or personal — and, at the same time, give back to their new community.
The price of admission was a backpack with school supplies.
This year's collection of backpacks and school supplies will be handed out on Saturday, August 1 beginning at 10 a.m. at John Colemon Elementary School. However, any family with children in need of a backpack with some supplies is encouraged to participate in the drive-thru pickup.
“It's the perfect situation,” said Harris, of the drive-thru pickup. “No one has to come into contact with a lot of people.”
Harris added, “Each backpack is different, and they do not contain all the required supplies, but it is a great start to what is needed.”
Harris had to scale back this year's get together because of COVID-19 — “We took every precautionary measure possible” — but still has more than 300 backpacks to giveaway.
The gathering was held outside, everyone received hand sanitizer, and they all wore masks.
Attendees were eager to socialize and, more importantly, help the community, especially knowing so many others have been economically impacted this year. There were guests who brought more than one backpack and other organizations, like the NAACP of Murfreesboro, also donated backpacks.
Last year, on the heels of a terrible tornado, she sent all the backpacks to her hometown of Dayton, Ohio, so, this year, she reached out to Bill Spurlock, director of Rutherford County Schools, and he put her in touch with the administration at John Colemon.