New ministry plans to restore Knoxville College

(WBIR-Knoxville) A new ministry at Knoxville College is trying to restore the campus grounds, and put a little charm back into the school.

For the past two months, The Helping Hand Ministry has been cleaning different rooms on campus.

"We prayed about it for a year and we said, 'Okay, it's time,'" said Winkie Claiborne, with The Helping Hand Ministry.

Claiborne went on to say, "We cried for about two days because we felt like this was overwhelming but then we prayed about it and it's not so overwhelming."

Some of the buildings have been condemned.

"When you don't have the money to keep them up it's kind of hard," Claiborne said.

The ministry plans to have all the buildings back in operation within the next three years.

Some volunteers clean at the college almost every day. Saturday was their second mega-cleanup, involving staff and students. They hope to get the community involved as well.

"It needs it. It needs it. It's been sitting up here and everybody just kept talking about and I said, 'I'm tired of listening to people talk about it. Let's go do something about it,'" said Claiborne, who lives next to the college in Mechanicsville.

"We're going to keep going until we get something done. We don't care if it's 25 students up here. We're going to make sure whatever room they're in, it's going to be nice clean and livable," said Winkie's brother, Michael Claiborne.

Knoxville College has had some difficult challenges, particularly after it lost accreditation in 1997.

Earlier in the week, Dr. Horace Judson announced he will resign as president in December. According to Winkie Claiborne, his resignation will not affect their plans.

She has lived next to the college for more than 50 years and remembers a time when the community thrived.

"This is the heart of Mechanicsville... We need to get in here and help this school. It's a child and it needs to be raised and it needs to be raised right," she said.

The ministry is in need of volunteers and donations.

Those interested can contact Knoxville College and ask for The Helping Hand Ministry.


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