Brenda Gratz: Bringing good things to Halls

Beth KinnaneGet Up & Go, Halls

The Halls Crossroads Women’s League is ready to get back to business following a year of altered or cancelled plans due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Brenda Gratz had just begun her first term as the League’s president when Covid struck.


“We held it together and still managed to get things done,” Gratz said. “With phone calls, emails and ZOOM meetings, we got through it.”

Brenda Gratz

Gratz said most of the League’s current membership is of age to be fully vaccinated at this point, and they are looking forward to resuming monthly meetings in May.

“We’re trying to get back to where we were,” she said. “But we’re a really strong organization, and I have faith that we will succeed.”

Coming up quickly on the agenda is the league’s new farmers market at the Halls Center on Maynardville Pike, anchored by Elder’s Ace Hardware Store. The first market will be Tuesday, May 11, and held every Tuesday through Oct. 26.

“This is a new endeavor, and we’re learning as we go,” she said. “We’ve gotten lots of tips from other farmers markets. The community wants a farmers market and needs a farmers market. The hope is it will also help draw people into the Halls community and its businesses.”

Gratz said that all products sold at the new market must be locally raised or produced. In other words, don’t come with a pickup truck full of peaches from Georgia.

“We are looking to pick up more vendors. Right now, we’re looking for locally raised produce, eggs, flowers, baked goods,” she said, adding that additions of other types of vendors or possibly food trucks may be considered later. Anyone interested in setting up at the market needs to complete the vendor application on the League’s website here.

Beyond the new farmers market, the League is looking forward to several of its traditional activities getting back on the calendar. But, unlike most civic and non-profit organizations, the HCWL was still able to hold its annual golf tournament last year at Beaver Brook Country Club since it’s an outdoor event.

“This is our main fundraiser,” Gratz said. “This is where we make most of our money for the year, that funds our scholarships, our support for local schools and other needs in the community.”

The tournament is on for August, and the HCWL will be announcing its annual scholarship recipients soon. And the community cookout is scheduled for July 17.

Gratz, a 1959 graduate of Halls High School, said it’s nice for things to be falling back into line. But the delay of game due to Covid is not holding the League back from other ambitious projects. She said plans were going “full speed ahead” to have a history of the Halls Crossroads community completed and published within a year. There are also plans to start a museum.

“This has been a big goal of ours since we were formed in 2005,” Gratz said. “It will take a lot for it all to fall into place, and we’ll have to have community involvement.”

Gratz said that despite the hurdles of the past year, “our women still managed over $100,000 worth of volunteer hours. We have a purpose in helping our community. I’m really proud of our organization.”

To learn more about the Halls Crossroads Women’s League go here.

Beth Kinnane is community news editor at KnoxTNToday.com.

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