By BROOKE WANSER
Mercy Community Healthcare will host the first-ever prayer dinner to raise funds for its clinic at St. Philip Catholic Church next Friday, Nov. 3.
The emcee for the event will be a woman well-known to the community, whose entire family has been served by Mercy: Brandy Blanton.
In addition to her roles as a Franklin alderman at-large and publisher of Southern Exposure Magazine, Blanton has long been involved with Mercy, and is the only member of her family of seven who hasn’t been treated there. “It was extremely wonderful to be able to go to a body of people who have walked with your family before they were born,” she said.
Mercy was founded in 1999 as Mercy Children’s Clinic, a nonprofit health organization dedicated to serving all populations, insured or not. Since then, it has expanded to include adult health care and mental health services.
Dr. Monty Burks, the director of Faith Based Initiatives with the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, will detail his personal journey through mental health battles in the keynote speech. Other stories of recovery also will be presented.
Blanton acknowledged the community’s struggle with opiate addiction and teenage suicide, but said that the work being done at Mercy gives those who are fighting a support system.
“It’s kind of like cancer, everybody’s family struggles with it in some capacity,” she said. “It’s a mental condition that affects the physical part of their being.”
She understands the struggle firsthand, and said one of her children has been treated at Mercy for mental illness. “Mercy has done a great job in getting us back on track to where I don’t fear for my child anymore and her safety,” Blanton said.
Mercy’s Chief Executive Officer Cindy Siler said the event is called the prayer dinner because of the organization’s belief in spiritual aspects of health, but, “this event is about celebrating hope. It will be a wonderful evening of powerful testimonies and inspirational music, along with great food and wine and fellowship,” Siler said in a written release.
The evening will begin with a wine reception presented by Harvest Beverage Company and a silent auction at 5:30, then transition into dinner, catered by Grassland-based restaurant The Daily Dish.
Tickets are available for the event here through Thursday, Nov. 2, and are $100 per person, or $800 for a table.