Blount County, TN is home to Paul Bales, a truly caring person who works tirelessly for his community. Paul's aim is to help those who are less fortunate and he does whatever is necessary to help them.
Through the years, Paul has developed a network of contacts to aid his service. He knows who and where to turn to seek assistance in any situation. Friendship and respect are the key factors that have enabled Paul to develop such a network of humanitarians. He has a knack for recognizing a problem and persuading others to help, whether it is with money or volunteers.
The Empty Pantry Fund, Coats for the Cold and the Area School Bus Safety Check are just a few of the programs Paul has organized in Blount County in the past year. He periodically adds a new cause to his list; the bus safety check was new in 1998 while the Empty Pantry Fund is in its 46th year.
The Empty Pantry Fund is the largest and most important campaign. The project raises approximately $40,000 annually to provide more than 30 tons of food to the less fortunate at Christmas. In 1998, Paul and hundreds of volunteers filled 1,200 baskets with enough food to feed a family of four for a week. Donations and all administrative costs are handled by The Daily Times, where Paul is advertising director for major accounts.
Another of Paul’s campaigns is the Coats for the Cold program. In 1998, 1,000 coats were collected and given away to the least fortunate of Blount County.
Paul also organized the Area School Bus Safety Check. All school buses, vans and other vehicles that transport children were invited to the free inspection conducted by the Tennessee Department of Safety.
These are the most well-known projects in which Paul is involved; however, there are many other acts of kindness. For Paul, kindness is a year-round attitude. Paul's nominator for the Daily Points of Light Award said, "In a time when so many turn their heads and go the other way, Paul Bales runs to the situation and offers his assistance."