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COVID-19 — Thank You and Update


KNOXVILLE, TN (April 7, 2020) This is a message of celebration.

A celebration of those of you who have donated or volunteered at a food bank since the COVID-19 crisis began. The Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee team has made hundreds of wellness calls in the past week – resulting in more than 300 referrals on behalf of the families we serve; (a 6,000% increase over an average week). The vast majority of the requests are related to food insecurity and other basic needs. When you’ve supported area food banks, you’ve directly helped our Littles and their siblings, parents, and grandparents. Thank you.

A celebration of first responders. If not for social distancing, I would hug each and every one of you. And a heartfelt thanks to our Bigs who work in healthcare and to our 30 Bigs in Blue who continue to serve the community while remaining committed to your Little. You are all heroes.

A celebration of small businesses. You’ve stood with us through event sponsorships, in-kind donations, and more. We know you’re hurting right now, and we’d love to help you. Please email our team if you’d like to be featured in our upcoming small business spotlight. Let us know how we can help, whether it’s picking up take-out, buying a gift card, or ordering online.

A celebration of our mentors who continue to keep kids connected. We love seeing your FaceTime screenshots, hearing about how you’re inspiring learning while Littles are out of school, and seeing pictures of the virtual activities you’re participating in with your mentees. Please make plans to attend some of our upcoming virtual events, and let us know how we can continue to support you.

A celebration of the families we serve. Your resilience inspires us. If we haven’t spoken to you yet, we’ll be calling soon. And if you need help in the meantime, please reach out to me directly or to your Match Support Specialist.

And a celebration of this community. Of the donors who have reached out to see how BBBS-ETN is doing with event cancelations, market downturns, and decreased funding. Of the foundations who have promised to bear with us while we adjust our operations to serve the community during this crisis. Of the volunteers who have asked how they can help. Of our board and executive committee who continue to go above and beyond. You are all phenomenal.

These next few months won’t be easy for any of us. But, know that Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee will be standing shoulder to shoulder with each of you:

• We will continue our remote operations – processing youth in need of a mentor, interviewing volunteers, conducting orientations via Zoom, and – for the first time ever – making Matches virtually. We’ll support current mentors who are vital to kids who are out of school, isolated, and more at-risk than ever.

• We’ll continue serving as a hub for hundreds of families – providing resources for those who have been significantly affected by loss of income, food insecurity, lack of healthcare, and anxiety due to the uncertainties related to COVID-19.

• We’ll also continue supporting – and celebrating – each and every one of you throughout this time of turmoil.

And when this is all over, with your help, we will bounce back and our agency will be stronger than ever.

With immense gratitude,

P.S. We know you’re receiving a number of emails right now, so we’ll do our best to only email you when it’s absolutely necessary. In the meantime, you can sign up to receive more regular updates from me through our new CEO blog. And for the latest on all BBBS-ETN’s events, orientations, and public meetings, visit


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