Thanksgiving meal boxes provided with a grant by T-Mobile

Cookeville – Just before Thanksgiving, The Highlands Economic Partnership had the opportunity to partner with Putnam Education Partnership (PEP), a non-profit that serves Putnam County School System students and families, to serve 300 families Thanksgiving meal boxes with a grant provided by TMobile. The goal of this event was to bring together community leaders from across the Upper Cumberland and Tennessee Tech students (Kappa Sigmas) to distribute the meals to families through the LEAPS program to families in Putnam County.

“We are so proud of organizations like Putnam Education Partnership that go above and beyond to make sure that no child experiences hunger,” said Amy New, President and CEO of the Cookeville-Putnam County Chamber of Commerce. “It is partner organizations like these that keep our region thriving.”  

Helping hands – Highlands Economic Partnership and Putnam Education Partnership distributed thanksgiving meals

“It was an honor to serve the LEAPS families. LEAPS, led by Brenda Hughett, provides after-school care that helps students with their school work and tutoring, but also allows students to explore the world by experiencing new hobbies like archery, and STEM, and visiting new locations,” admitted Katelyn Steakley, PEP Executive Director. “It is made up primarily of economically disadvantaged students, and we were able to work with LEAPS, PCSS schools and transportation for the delivery of the boxes to students and their families. We are thankful for the collaboration with Highland Economic Partnership and to all the community leaders and Tech students who help distribute. Together, we were able to bless families this Thanksgiving.”

The Highlands Economic Partnership hosts an annual executive leadership program called Highlands Leaders; in this program, there is an element of community impact initiatives that spread across Putnam, White, Overton and Jackson counties- one of which is child hunger. When the Highlands Leaders were able to collaborate with PEP, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to make an impact in families’ lives during the holiday season.

“Putnam Education Partnership and the Putnam County School System are two remarkable organizations that are so important to the overall success of our region,” said Vice President of the Highlands Economic Partnership, Adam Poe. “Between the Highlands Leaders desire to make a difference in our community and PEP’s vision, this was an impactful and rewarding event to be a part of.”

Photo courtesy of Cookeville-Putnam County Chamber of Commerce 

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