The vision to establish a dynamic new ministry to aid families throughout the state came into focus with the Jan. 15 dedication of the Bob and Carolyn Tucker Greater Vision Outreach Center.
Carolyn Tucker, right, talks about being involved in the work of the Baptist Children’s Homes of North Carolina, led by Michael Blackwell, president.
Donors, dignitaries, staff and community friends gathered at Baptist Children’s Homes of North Carolina’s (BCH) Mills Home campus in Thomasville to celebrate the official opening of the 10,000 square-foot center.
“This is the fulfillment of a dream, of a vision that some of us had and simply wouldn’t let go of,” BCH president Michael C. Blackwell said at the dedication program.
“For those of you who have truly been gripped by a vision that you feel came from God, you know you have no choice but to do what God is asking you to do.”
The dedication program consisted of a catered luncheon in the center’s warehouse.
The area was adorned with elaborate tables and beautiful place settings. Around them, guests could see areas reserved for donated clothing, school supplies, furniture, food and other supplies that can meet the immediate needs of community families.
“God plainly asks us to follow a vision of outreach in the community,” Blackwell explained, “and when we feel God has opened a door, we are very quick to go through that door.”
The door opened wide in 2016 when Bob and Carolyn Tucker of Concord pledged $1.5 million for the establishment of the new ministry. The center is named in their honor.
Carolyn’s smile beamed brightly as she stood at Blackwell’s side and spoke to the capacity crowd. “Bob and I are pleased to be a part of the giving towards such a great organization as the Baptist Children’s Homes.”
The Tuckers are longtime friends of BCH and members of North Kannapolis Baptist Church.
They are the founders of Shoe Show, Inc., which has retail locations in 47 states. Bob and Carolyn’s son, Bobby, is a member of BCH’s Board of Trustees.
“The real journey began when we heard of the real work and the lives that are changed. We were moved by the spirit, and we are just carrying on a great tradition,” Carolyn continued.
“When you give to an organization like this, you see it, it is not just on a piece of paper.
“We are all so glad to be a part of this work.”
The “work” is the expansion of BCH’s array of services to children and families. The goal of the Greater Vision Outreach Ministry is to provide assistance to working families who struggle financially and can benefit from one-on-one mentoring on a path to self-sufficiency.
The center assists them by providing direct services, referrals to community resources, and education opportunities that help them on their journey. The ministry also serves the community by being a clearinghouse, channeling large donations to non-profit partners for distributions.
“This is a holistic approach that provides help, hope and healing for the economically depressed, spiritually discouraged and economically distressed,” Blackwell said to the crowd.
To express his gratitude, Blackwell presented Carolyn with a framed copy of the Greater Vision article that appeared as a center spread in the January/February 2019 edition of Charity & Children, BCH’s long-running news publication.
Many donors and volunteers came together to be a part of the new ministry including the Harris family who owns Furnitureland South in High Point. They provided the furnishings for the center as well as Stokes Cottage.
The renovated children’s cottage was also unveiled and dedicated as a part of the celebratory day. North Carolina Baptist volunteers were vital to preparing the cottage to be a safe, family-style home to hurting children.
Even though the Greater Vision Outreach Center has just been officially dedicated, Greater Vision Outreach Center manager Sara Becker, her staff, volunteers and community partners have been meeting the various needs of families and individuals for months.
To date, Greater Vision has provided 48,314 meals and distributed 14,471 items of clothing and 10 pieces of furniture to children and families, both in the Triad and across the state.
“What sets Greater Vision apart is our commitment to help families move to greater financial independence – where they rely less on assistance,” Becker said.
With the new center fully operational, Blackwell is looking forward with expectation as the vision for BCH’s newest ministry widens.
“The creation of the Bob and Carolyn Tucker Greater Vision Outreach Center is historic for Baptist Children’s Homes,” Blackwell said.
“It is an opportunity to take our organizational vision of ‘sharing hope … changing lives’ to the next level – a greater level.”