The Charlotte Deaton Foundation reaching out to meet needs
Danna Deaton, organizer of The Butterfly House, a faith based transitional living facility for women, is pleased to talk about the expansion of services through the newly formed Charlotte Deaton Foundation. The new foundation will support three key areas in the community - a children's educational and career opportunities program, The Manila Food Pantry and The Butterfly House.
John and Danna Deaton, along with the board, see the multigenerational poverty as a complex problem to the area. There is no easy solution but they hope to work together to make a difference.
Members of the board include Danna Deaton, Angie Master, Aimee McLaughlin, LeAnn Helms and Brandi Hurst.
The foundation was established in memory of John and Danna Deaton's daughter, Charlotte onlylived a short time but made an impact on many lives.
Charlotte was born July 23, 2012, and died Sept. 21, 2012.
"The death of your child changes everything," Danna said. "During grieving God has shown me a lot about myself. The only thing that gives peace is focusing on the future and what lies ahead and in helping others who are struggling going through the same thing. I could only be comforted by others who had experienced it."
The mission of the foundation is to improve the quality of life of the families in the community through giving, loving and education by feeding the hungry, loving those in need, teaching through mentoring and giving hope.
Danna said she and John have been blessed. They have their daughter, Mary Scott, their church family, family, friends and colleagues.
During those 60 days Charlotte was in the hospital and after her death the couple was blessed by the outpouring of the community.
"God blessed us by giving us Charlotte for 60 days," Mrs. Deaton said. "We have been blessed and creating this foundation is one small way we can help others."
Danna said she realizes there is no complete solution to all of the problems but one of her favorite stories is The Starfish Story about the miles of starfish on the beach and a young girl walking along tossing each one gently back into the ocean so it wouldn't die. A man came along and told her she couldn't possibly save them all. "Even if you work all day your efforts won't make any difference," he said. As she threw one into the sea she said, "It made a difference to that one."
"It helps us heal when we help others," Danna said. "Service is a way out of sadness. This is not about us; it is what God will do through Charlotte. She was alive and she has made a difference."
The Manila Food Pantry is an affiliate of NEA Food Bank in Jonesboro. Food is received through private donations, the Rice Depot, USDA, grants, and the regional food bank. The food bank recently received a $500 grant. Women who live at the Butterfly House and other volunteers will staff the food pantry.
The Manila Food Pantry is located at 217 West Concord Street. It is open from 1-5 p.m. Wednesdays. Sandra Hicks is director of the food bank. For more information or to volunteer persons may call Hicks at 870-838-4040.
The afterschool program will be two days a week, Tuesday and Thursday. Students will receive help with homework and receive a backpack filled with snacks and light meal items. They will learn coping skills and how to deal with problems at home. There will also be mentoring.
The Butterfly House will be a transitional living facility for women helping them to independent living, from incarceration, the cycle of abuse, or from a treatment facility. It will promote family unification, education, job training and support through the "system." God's word will be taught as "the guide to living."
It will be free, safe housing for women seeking a better way of life.
"Lives will be changed through the Butterfly House," Mrs. Deaton said.
All of the programs depend on volunteers and donations.
Deaton and other board members will have a booth at the annual Lions Chili Cook-off on Saturday. They will be selling cookbooks, tee shirts and handing out information on The Charlotte Deaton Foundation. She invites the public to stop by and visit the booth.
"Things happen we don't understand," she said. "In reality we only have today and each day we should look back and ask ourselves what have I done today to further His Kingdom."
Mrs. Deaton welcomes the opportunity to talk about the foundation and the programs. She can be contacted at (870) 930-6981.