MADISON COUNTY, Ala. - A local nonprofit, Thin Line Support, is growing to serve more areas of the community and even the nation.
Thin Line Support, according to President and co-Founder, Kathy Hooper, is a 501(c)(3) dedicated to serving first responders and military members. The organization takes care of those who are used to helping others when they need it most. It takes them food, clothes, furniture, housewares, supplies, and moral support after they suffer events like house fires, deaths in the family, fallen officers, surgeries, and more. They keep extra stuffed animals for the kids, too. The group stores the goods in warehouses dispersed throughout the area.
"Anything they may need, we keep it," said Hooper of their warehouse system. "When they need it for their home, they receive it free of charge." Hooper claims they can furnish a home in 24 hours-- moving quickly to assist whenever they're called.
Just this week, Hooper said they assisted at multiple funerals and are currently helping a firefighter whose own home burned. They have also sent supplies to other states, like Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Tennessee.
Hooper said they have seen a real need for an organization like this because first responders are not used to asking for help. Often, they will stay working a scene long after the relief organizations have gone.
"Everybody knows how to take care of the community. We are trained from the jump-start with that. But when it comes to taking care of our own families, sometimes we have a hard time figuring out what to do next," Hooper said.
Now, the organization is growing. Hooper said a group in California wants to start its own chapter. They have spread throughout multiple states with the goal to help others take the effort across the nation. The group also just got a new building to use as a warehouse in Tennessee, and they continue to accept donations across the Tennessee Valley.
"We started out the organization saying that if God wanted it to happen, He would see to it that it grew. And apparently he really likes it, because it has exploded!" she said with a laugh.
The business started when Hooper and her husband, Mark, left their jobs as a police officer and paramedic, respectively.
"We got to the point where we had to get out, due to illness and injury. But we decided that we wanted to set up something where we could take care of everybody else," she stated.
To be able to help others who serve and protect is so important to the people of Thin Line Support. They say even more donations, and even more volunteers, can make all the difference.
"It means a lot," Hooper said. "We have our family taking care of our family, and they know in the middle of the night, they can call."