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Nonprofit supports community center after-school program

Heritage Hall Theatre President Chase McGlamery presents a check to Johnson County/Mountain City Community Center Director Flo Bellamy on Thursday, February 4. Submitted photo.

By Meg Dickens
Staff Writer

On Thursday, February 4, Heritage Hall Theatre extended support to the Johnson County/Mountain City Community Center. Newly elected president, Chase McGlamery, presented a $1,000 check to Director Flo Bellamy to aid in the center’s after-school program. McGlamery grew up in Johnson County and saw first-hand the kind of work Bellamy does for the community.

“The Johnson County Community Center is open every day after school and provides any student with a safe place to work on homework, play games, and enjoy snacks, among other things,” explained McGlamery in a recent press release. “Since losing the LEAPs grant, the center now primarily relies on donations and support from community members.”

The Johnson County/Mountain City Community Center lost $50,000 in funding when Tennessee discontinued the Lottery for Education: Afterschool Programs (LEAPs) grant. Since then, the community has made a point to help fill the gap. In November 2020, two organizations donated money to the program’s cause. Operation Pocket Change donated $10,000, and Elizabethton Federal donated $5,000. The Hometown Service Coalition also received funds earmarked for the community center. Despite challenges caused by the current pandemic, Heritage Hall Theatre joined this trend.

“While our theatre has been closed for nearly a year due to the COVID pandemic, myself and the entire board of directors felt it was vital to support our local kids and our entire community,” said McGlamery. “This past year, our theatre has faced several challenges related to the ongoing health crisis, but I am grateful that one of my first actions since stepping in as president this year was to support our community in this way.”

The Johnson County/Mountain City Community Center uses all donations to help the children. Staff funding comes from the city and county, which pay $100,000 and $25,000 each year, respectively. According to the Mountain City Council, one of the center’s part-time employees will be retiring,leaving a position open in its ranks.

For more information on the Johnson County/Mountain City Community Center and how to contribute, call (423) 727-2942. Find out more online on Facebook @jcmccommunitycenter. According to McGlamery, Heritage Hall tentatively plans to reopen on April 10 for its Beatles tribute concert. Find out more about Heritage Hall at heritagehalltheatre.org.