Former single mom hosts fundraiser to cover a single mom's expenses for a year

Posted at 10:32 AM, Jul 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-20 11:32:31-04

COLUMBIA, Tenn. (WTVF) — After 14 years as a single mom, a Columbia woman is set to host a comedy show fundraiser Friday night to cover a single mother's basic expenses for a year.

"Just throughout the years, I found myself in several tough spots as a single mom just trying to start over and just had a huge community of people rally around me, you know. Whether it was making sure that my kids had Christmas or making sure that we had groceries, or making sure that I had a car that ran so I could get back and forth to work," recounted Annie Belcher.

She said the community that surrounded her inspired her.

"That kind of formulated this dream in my heart. It kind of started this this bubbling in my heart of like, 'Oh, I want to pay this forward. How can I pay this forward?' And and I just decided I wanted to fund a single mom for a year," she said. "I can't even begin to express what that would have meant to have somebody come alongside me for a solid year and just say, ‘Hey, I'm going to I'm going to lift you up when you don't feel like you can carry yourself any longer.’ Like that—That's just huge."

Anne’s Arbor Founder Annie Belcher

In 2021, she met and married Josh Belcher who was a fanatic for the gameshow Beat Shazam. The couple was selected to be on the show and in May of 2022, they traveled to the show's studios in Ireland to compete in the game that aired on Monday night.

Belcher described the trip as, "a honeymoon slash 'Let's go win a million dollars' [for my dream] trip!"

The couple returned home with more than $100,000 motivated to find a way to raise more money for a single mother.

"I wanted to ease the burden and the weight of having to be everything for your children and having to do everything for your children and having everything rest squarely on your shoulders, providing parenting, everything," said Belcher.

Her goal was to raise enough to fund a mother's rent and utilities for the year with any extra funds to be used for gas and groceries.

Annie and Josh Belcher went on the gameshow Beat Shazam where they won more than $100,000 to help start the fund for a single mother.

The mother Belcher selected for this year's fundraiser, Anne's Arbor, with the help of the Middle Tennessee Pregnancy Centers, has two children and has been paying to put herself through nursing school.

"Her housing subsidy had been defunded, and her rent had gone from $300 and something to $1,000. And she had a month to make a decision on where to go or to pay it. And so that just kind of was like, 'OK, this is a God thing,'" said Belcher.

She said her goal was to lift the weight of stress and anxiety for someone who is trying to better their situation, allowing them to just be a mom for a year.

"I want it to be just a covering for that mom for a year. I just wanted to cover her for a year and just say, ‘Come out of the rain. You're good for a year. You're sheltered, you're safe, you're good,'" explained Belcher tearfully. "And so that's where the—it just kind of was born, Anne’s Arbor."

To learn more about Friday's fundraiser that includes a comedy show with Rik Roberts and a silent auction, visit the Facebook event page: Anne’s Arbor for Single Moms Benefit.

In addition to helping a mother a year, Belcher hopes Anne's Arbor serves as a reminder.

"If you see a single mom, oh my gosh, wrap your arms around her hug her love her," pleaded Belcher. "Because nine times out of 10, she is crumbling on the inside and you will never know it. Ask her what you can do to help. You know? And better than that show up and just say, ‘Hey, I'm here to help.’ Because nine times out of 10, she's going to refuse the ask because she doesn't want to feel like she's failing."

Annie Belcher's teenage son said he remembers his mom talking about her dream to fund a single mother for a year since he was five years old.