The bells can officially ring across Putnam County as the Cookeville Rescue Mission kicked off its Annual Bell Ringing Fund Raiser.
Honorary Chair Senator Paul Bailey has long been a ringer himself, partnering with Sheriff Eddie Farris to ring the bell each year at Kroger Cookeville.
“It’s really just a godsend for this community to have the Cookeville Rescue Mission,” Bailey said. “It has touched hundreds of lives over the years that it’s been in operation. And I have just been moved by seeing so many lives changed here, seeing how the mission has grown. And I’m just happy to be able to do everything that I can to make sure that it continues to serve the needs of those that are less fortunate than others.”
Bailey said the generosity of local residents is seen every Christmas season as shoppers give money at local shopping centers.
“Just to see the people come in that day and open up their hearts, open up their billfolds and basically place money in that in that jar for the Rescue Mission is really just touching,” Bailey said.
The mission began its work in 1976. It has expanded with the purchase of an adjacent building to the South Jefferson Avenue headquarters. Executive Director Bruce Bailey said the growth of the mission has occurred because of people’s support.
“I want to say that the Coupeville Rescue Mission is a mission for all people,” Bruce Bailey said. “We exist by faith in God and by community support to help people come to know Christ, to feed people, to clothe people, to shelter people, give them comfort, give them a place of belonging and a sense of purpose and value in their lives. So we appreciate your support and all that you do to help people straighten out their lives, come out of the life of addiction and end that cycle of homelessness for themselves.”
Bell ringers will be out at shopping centers throughout the region collecting donations.