Last Updated on April 4, 2020 3:18 pm
Boone, NC – In response to the recent public health threat, the High Country community is coming together like never before to ensure every individual and family have the resources needed to supply their basic needs. Part of this work is remembering and recognizing programs and organizations that are in-place to support emergency food.
“We have a vibrant, adapting emergency food system in the High Country that is prepared and ready to meet the needs of the community, but they cannot do it alone,” explains Amanda Hege with Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest NC. “The key to success is collaboration and coordination on all levels.”
Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest NC is the primary source of food for a network of more than 470 local food assistance programs (pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, and meals programs for children and seniors) throughout 18 counties in Northwest North Carolina, including Casting Bread Ministries, First Baptist Church Boone, Greenway Baptist, Hospitality House, and the Hunger and Health Coalition in Watauga County.
“Our partnership with Second Harvest Food Bank and strategic collaboration with other local Second Harvest partner agencies makes for a formidable force in the fight against hunger during these unprecedented times,” says Todd Carter, director of development at Hospitality House.
The emergency food system is a critical component of our nation’s food supply. The area’s leading agencies in this work are doing all they can to ensure our region’s food assistance system remains strong in the wake of COVID-19. Now, more than ever, individuals and families are turning to this resource for accessing their basic essentials.
During this time of unprecedented uncertainty and change, the food pantries are staying open and shifting their operations to continue the mission of nourishing their communities while keeping communities safe. Critical measures being taken include:
- Providing curbside, drive-through services so that pantry visitors stay in their car and receive pre-packed food boxes;
- Adjusted hours of operation to limit the number of cars and interactions at one time;
- Fewer than five staff or volunteers interacting at one time, with all adhering to social distancing guidelines of more than 6-feet between persons;
- Screening all staff and volunteers for potential exposure to the virus;
- Practicing strategic cleaning procedures including sanitizing all door handles, tables, light switches, electronics, pens, and surfaces after use and every hour and staff/volunteers washing their hands as required and every 30 minutes; and
- Regularly communicating with the health department and healthcare agencies for guidance.
Tina Krause, the executive director of Hospitality House says that her agency “remains steadfast in our mission, with dedicated staff working round the clock to ensure that the High Country population living in homelessness, hunger and poverty receive all available resources needed.”
“As the uncertainty due to COVID-19 continues to grow, I urge us to slow-down and consider how best to pull our resources together,” said Hege. “Everyone has a place at the table in fighting hunger. So, we must continue the momentum to bring meaningful action. Whether you are in need of food, looking for ways to support your community, or are already involved, do your part in coordinating efforts.”
Here are some ways that the Watauga County’s established network of emergency response agencies say you can help:
- Donate funds – every $1 in donation provides more than $5 in meals to those in need
- Donate time – they are still accepting volunteers and have screening protocols in-place to promote a safe volunteering environment
- Donate food – accepting all forms of shelf-stable food in addition to fresh produce from local farms. Review the list of preferred food donation items. Please be sure to remember appropriate social distancing while delivering food.
“We are so deeply thankful for how our community is rallying to take care of one another. More community members than ever have stepped up to be part of the solution,” shares Elizabeth Young, the executive director of the Hunger and Health Coalition. “There is so much to do to prepare for this unprecedented shock to our healthcare system and economy, and all donations of time, resources, and funds make an impact.”
We must stem the tide of this virus; but, even more so, we must join forces to be there for each other as we get through it.
And we will get through it together.
Watauga County partners of Second Harvest Food Bank are included below and available on this Google Map:
Casting Bread Ministries
Location: 194 Aho Rd., Blowing Rock, NC 28605
Hours: Wednesdays and Thursdays 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Services: Food Boxes
How you can help: Visit their website https://www.increasefoodsecurity.org/ to donate food, funds, or time
First Baptist Church Boone
Location: 375 W King St, Boone, NC 28607
Hours: Temporarily closed, supporting other agencies
Location: 880 Greenway Rd., Boone, NC
Hours: Thursdays 10:00 AM – 2:30 PM
Services: Curb-side Food Boxes
How you can help: Visit their website https://www.greenwaybaptist.com/food-pantry to donate food, funds, or time
Hospitality House of Northwest North Carolina
Location: 338 Brook Hollow Rd, Boone, NC 28607
Hours: Food Pantry: Open weekdays and weekends 12:00 – 4:00 PM
Free Hot Meals To-Go: 6:30-8:30 AM, 11:30-1:00 PM, 5:30-6:30 PM
Services: Curb-side Food Boxes, Fresh Produce, and To-Go Meals; Shelter; Housing;
How you can help: Amazon wishlist, in-kind gifts and online donations at https://www.hosphouse.org/covid19
Hunger and Health Coalition
Location: 141 Health Center Dr # C, Boone, NC 28607
Hours: Monday – Friday 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Services: Curb-side Food Boxes, Fresh Produce, and Perishable Foods; Medications
How you can help: Accepts donations of all kinds! For monetary donations, you can send a check through the mail to our office (P.O. Box 1837 Boone, NC 28607) or alternatively go through our paypal site to make a secure electronic donation at https://www.paypal.com/paypalme2/hungerandhealthco
Call our Volunteer Coordinator Terri Niederhammer at 828-262-1628
For more information:
Contact: Amanda Hege, MPH, RD, LD