A generous grant will allow Brooks House, a Lebanon shelter for women and children in crisis, to extend its services.
The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, a charitable organization dedicated to enriching the quality of life in the 40 Middle Tennessee counties it serves, has announced $1.3 million in grants to 273 nonprofit organizations as part of the foundation’s annual discretionary grant making process. Among the recipients is Brooks House, which received a $5,000 grant to provide preventive and corrective physical, dental and vision care and necessary medications for 40 homeless women returning to the work force.
"This grant will be used for the residents of Brooks House," said Brooks House Director "Momma Liz" Reese. "It will allow us to provide physicals and vision and dental checkups for the women upon their admission to Brooks House."
Reese said it is vital for these women, who are trying to get back on their feet, to be in good physical shape to meet the challenges they face as they attempt find and keep jobs.
"More than 60 percent of my ladies are single and don't have TennCare, and many of them have dental problems," Reese said. "If we want to get them jobs or send them to school, they've got to be well."
She said getting a job is only half the battle, they have to also be able to keep a job.
"They get hired and then two or three weeks later get sick, they can't hold on to that job," she said.
Reese said Brooks House residents will begin getting check ups next week, and an intake physical will become part of the process when women are taken into the shelter. For many, going to a doctor or dentist will be a novel experience.
"How big a problem is lack of care?" Reese asked. "Many of our ladies have never been to a doctor. They have been getting along by self-medicating with other people's medicine because they've never had the funds to go to a doctor."
The grant will also allow Reese to make sure the women at the shelter have professional care for the duration of their stay.
"As long as they are here, we'll be able to get them the health care they need and teach them to take care of themselves," she said.
In the past 21 years, The Community Foundation has distributed more than $600 million to community programs and institutions. For more information about the foundation, call 615-321-4939 or visit cfmt.org.