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Kara Spicer, principal of Pine View Elementary, receives boxes of donated mask holders and water bottles from Sarah Halcott, executive director of Creative Compassion.

Creative Compassion Inc. is helping schools keep students and staff safe.

The nonprofit agency received a $35,500 grant through the Tennessee Community CARES Act funding, and it’s using the money to buy water bottles and mask lanyards for Cumberland County students.

It also purchased touchless hand sanitizer dispenser for each classroom in Fentress County and ADA-compliant water bottle refill stations.

“That’s what each school system requested and what we thought would help,” said Sarah Halcott, executive director of the agency. 

It’s a little outside Creative Compassion’s usual work — affordable and safe housing — but it’s something Halcott and the Creative Compassion advisory council thought could meet a need.

“We’re one little agency, but sometimes we can reach out and meet another community need,” Halcott said.

Creative Compassion council members are Casey Sherrill, Ben Gernt and Kristina Turner.

The Tennessee Community CARES program provided $150 million in grants to nonprofit organizations across the state to respond to the COVID-19 health crisis. 

Both school systems were on fall break last week, and Fentress County was scheduled for virtual learning countywide this week. Volunteers from Stonecom were lined up to help deliver the water bottles, dispensers and other items to each school. 

For more information about Creative Compassion, Inc., visit

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