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Jonesborough’s Wild Women gather blankets for kids in need


Staff Writer

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When Nancy Kavanaugh went to see a show at the Jonesborough Repertory Theatre in 2018, she didn’t know that from the play would grow a great opportunity to help her community.

Kavanaugh and her friends took their seat in the audience and the rest is history.

“We went to see ‘The Wild Women of Winedale’ at the theatre and as I was watching I realized, we could be wild women ourselves,” Kavanaugh said. “Anyone can be a Wild Woman.”

And that night, the Wild Women of Jonesborough were born.

From that, the Wild Women of Jonesborough gathered donations of $1,500 to support the shows at the JRT, along with $4,000 to the theatre.

“We are a 501C3 and since 2018, we have raised $23,000,” Kavanaugh said. “We are an organization under the umbrella of the Community Chest.”

Over the past few years, the group has raised money to give to needy children at Jonesborough Middle School.

“In 2019, I went to the school and spoke with the principal, Brandon McKee,” Kavanaugh said. “I asked what the needs were and told him I wanted to do something for the students.”

Kavanaugh also asked Jonesborough Middle School counselor, Clarinda Whitson, what the kids needed in terms of clothing and pantry items.

“Clarinda said that there were kids that were never able to have a Christmas due to money. I was shocked,” Kavanaugh said. “I was told they needed at least $2100 in gift cards to cover the needs to take these kids to the mall. I thought, ‘We can do much more than that’ and we ended up raising $5,000 to send 50 kids to the mall.”

Whitson took the girls shopping and McKee took the boys.

“The things they most wanted were hoodies and Vans shoes,” Kavanaugh said. “That’s what the rich kids wore and it transformed them.”

In 2020 due to COVID-19, Kavanaugh got the wish list for what the kids needed and the teachers went to the mall to get the items and delivered them to the kids.

“We raised $6,000 that year, and that was the goal,” Kavanaugh said. “$6,000 for 60 children.”

One thing on the wish list caught Kavanaugh’s eye.

“The most asked for thing was blankets. I was like, ‘No way,’” Kavanaugh said. “I reached out to JAMSA (Jonesborough Area Merchants and Service Association), as well as the Community Chest and the Garden Club for help. My living room and dining room are now filled with bedding and blankets to where it is overflowing.”

Kavanaugh said that things just keep appearing on her front porch.

“At the beginning of November, I sent letters out to 100 Wild Women and asked them to donate if they could,” Kavanaugh said. “Most donated $100 or $50. They gave what they could. We are at $3,000 of the $6,000 goal and I have confidence we will reach the $6,000 for the gift cards.”

Just as Kavanaugh said, anyone can be a Wild Woman, they even have men as auxiliary members.

“If someone wants to get involved, they can send me a note or money to become a part,” Kavanaugh said. “They money doesn’t go into my account; I am the middle person between the donor and the Community Chest. Everyone is welcome to help.”

To get involved, you can email Kavanaugh at [email protected].

“There are so many angels in the world,” Kavanaugh said. “We have to let them do their work and find a child to help.”