News Column

'Team Martina' reaches into community to volunteer

July 18, 2014

By Kym Klass, Montgomery Advertiser, Ala.



July 18--Team Martina was looking for a good cause.

And on Thursday, they stepped through the front doors of Mary Ellen's Hearth, a transitional shelter for homeless women with children, and cooked, stuffed envelopes and colored.

Team Martina travels on tour with country singer Martina McBride -- who on Thursday night performed at the Montgomery Performing Arts Centre -- doing good work in the communities she's playing in, said Sheila Jones, a team member.

"We like to support a lot of causes that help women and children," said Jones of Team Martina, a global charity team dedicated to making the world a better place through the healing power of music.

"We like to say that we are living out the lyrics of Martina's songs. She loves to see the songs that she's written and the songs that she sings being used that way, especially to help women and children."

Team Martina prepared meals for the Meals on Wheels program, and some worked with children drawing pictures while others stuffed envelopes for a fundraiser.

Mary Ellen's Hearth is almost two years old, and offers transitional housing for homeless women and their children, and "they can live here up to two years as long as they are working on independence," said Debbie Dobbins, its executive director.

"We're taking women, teaching them how to live on their own, and they'll never be homeless again, and they won't be a burden on the community to take care of. We just had a woman graduate and buy her own house. We have another woman who paid off $10,000 worth of bills and has just recently gotten off of all government support."

Jones said Team Martina chose Mary Ellen's Hearth because, aside from the cause and its proximity to MPAC, "I watched the videos and saw the website and just fell in love with the story behind this organization."

Jones, a Faulkner University graduate, said Team Martina is made of volunteers, and on Thursday, they came from states including California, Rhode Island, Georgia and Tennessee.

"We're very happy to be here today and spread some joy and bring some love to the ladies here," she said.

At past concert locations, Team Martina visited a shelter for homeless teens (Newark, New Jersey); helped build a playground (Atlanta); and worked at a food bank (Greeley, Colorado).

"Whatever the community needs are, we like to come out and be hands on," Jones said. "We do hands-on volunteer work and some fundraising sometimes through the year. We really like to find causes in the communities ... that maybe haven't had much exposure, that really aren't known in the world.

"We like to leave a little bit of good behind in the city."

It was important for Team Martina to be there, Dobbins said, because "they not only are doing some jobs that we never have time to do because we don't have many staff, but they're also talking to the women, and they are getting to know them, and that helps the women build their self-esteem and know that people care about them."

Find out more

--Mary Ellen's Hearth, got to http://www.nellieburge.org/

--Team Martina, online at www.teammartina.com

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(c)2014 the Montgomery Advertiser (Montgomery, Ala.)

Visit the Montgomery Advertiser (Montgomery, Ala.) at www.montgomeryadvertiser.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services


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Source: Montgomery Advertiser (AL)


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