By MIRANDA BAINES
THE DAILY SOUTHERNER
Nash-Edgecombe Economic Development, Inc. (NEED) is planning its 2nd annual awards banquet. The banquet is set for 7 p.m. Dec. 13 at the Rocky Mount Gateway Convention Center/ Tickets are $50 each and must be reserved in advance.
“This is another way for us to raise some funds for the agency,” said NEED executive director Barry Richardson. NEED operates a variety of government-funded programs to help the residents of Nash, Edgecombe and Wilson Counties.
The awards banquet will begin with music and speeches, followed by dinner. NEED holds the annual banquet in honor of the late A.J. Richardson, who served as the executive director of the non-profit agency for more than 35 years.
“He has done a lot for our community and our agency. He put together a lot of great programs…and also brought the community together and created a spirit of community,” said Barry Richardson, who assumed the head leadership role at NEED after last year’s passing of A.J. Richardson. Although the two share the same last name, they are no relation to each other.
A.J. Richardson began working at NEED after his retirement from the U.S. Army in the 1970’s, and his memory and life’s work live on through the agency’s annual awards banquet.
At this year’s banquet, NEED will present the A.J. Richardson Award to PNC Bank for the bank’s assistance in meeting the needs of the agency’s service population. NEED was founded in 1965.
“All of our programs are about self-sufficiency, getting folks to a point where they can take care of themselves. We try to give everybody a hand up, not a hand out,” Richardson said.
Among NEED’s current programs are the Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8), Community Services Block Grant (family development) and Head Start, a program that provides child development and educational opportunities to children ages 3 to 5.
“Just in our Head Start program, we serve 633 kids a year and their families,” Richardson said.
NEED’s mission is to promote activities and programs to achieve the following goals:
Advance the general welfare of low-income people.
Increase the self-worth of those served and those serving.
Protect and enhance individual dignity by providing training, resources and opportunities in an effort to eliminate poverty.
NEED is currently collecting toys to distribute to boys and girls in its service area during the Christmas season, and those attending the awards banquet are asked to bring an unwrapped toy.
To reserve tickets to the banquet, call Gloria Wilson at 442-7106, ext. 242, no later than Monday.