The Knoxville Ladies of Charity have been recognized by the Young Women’s Christian Association as a finalist for an award at their Tribute to Women celebration scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 15, at the Bijou Theatre in Knoxville.
The Ladies of Charity are one of 21 finalists honored by the organization in recognition for their work that reflects the YWCA’s mission: “eliminating racism, empowering women, and creating peace, justice, dignity, and freedom for all.” Six winners will be announced at the awards ceremony.
This is the first time an organization has been honored by the YWCA as a nominee since the award’s inception in 1985, according to Debbie Donahoo, publicity chair for the Ladies of Charity.
The Ladies of Charity is an organization that was founded by St. Vincent de Paul in France in 1617 to serve the poor and needy in his parish. The organization grew internationally, and by 1934 there were 2,500 associations worldwide. The Knoxville Ladies of Charity started their chapter in 1942 with 175 members in response to the needs of numerous families who were uprooted from their homes because of the Manhattan Project in Oak Ridge during World War II.
The Ladies of Charity are certainly familiar with the adage that “a woman’s work is never done,” although many men also contribute support to the organization. In 2012 alone, the Knoxville chapter provided more than 54,000 services to the local community, including providing food, clothing, medications, kerosene, and utility and rent assistance. This effort required 30,000 hours of work by the organization’s 180 volunteers, according to B.E. Colway, the current Ladies of Charity president.
The Ladies of Charity operate a thrift shop at 120 Baxter Ave. that also houses the emergency assistance program and food pantry.