This month, NEA Baptist's center for good grief are holding their second annual Tuga’s project.
The Tuga Project is a month-long fundraiser that helps the center continue to provide services free of charge— for kids, teens and adults.
“This is Tuga. I don’t know if you can get a full scale of him or not. He is a grief friend that we provide all of the kids and teens that receive services from the NEA Baptist center for good grief,” Clinical director, NEA Baptist for Good Grief, Mandy Young said.
The center for good grief provides free bereavement counseling to anyone who has experienced the loss of a loved one or friend.
“A lot of times kids and teens will tell us nighttime is really hard for them and their grief. That is when emotions start to come out and so, Tuga was created just to be able to give them something to hold to in those hard moments. He has a cap, so he is a superhero of the sorts,” Young said.
The project was sent to begin in May 2020 but because of the pandemic, it was pushed back October in conjunction with the Jonesboro Junior Auxiliary Club.
Young feels the pandemic has caused more isolation for certain individuals who have lost a loved one and understands how that can be difficult to deal with.
“We are starting to see more and more families that their loved one has died from covid-19.” That has been the cause of death has impacted how the funeral has been able to go,” Young said.
Those participating include: KFC / Taco Bell, NEA Baptist Clinics, Gamble Home, Woodsprings Pharmacy’s (Hilltop, Bono, Woodsprings, and Food Giant in Harrisburg), Andy’s, Demo's Barbecue & Smokehouse, Double D Vintage, Medicine Shoppe, Nirvana Yoga, Pak Mail, Refinery, Sonic, Sue’s Express, Tacos for Life, Truck Patch, RPM, JGA and Salt Fitness.
Last year they raised over $36,000 for the center with all the proceeds staying in northeast arkansas but are concerned it may be different this year.
“With the pandemic and fundraising during a pandemic, it’s different and it’s hard and some businesses have been impacted not in a great way through that and we are realistic and understanding we might not reach that goal this year.”