By Jamie Shell, Jan 22, 2020
Local area nonprofit Feeding Avery Families continues to fight the battle with food insecurity, partnering with local groups to build and establish food pantries at various school locations across Avery County.
The organization formally dedicated the pantries during an event on Thursday, Jan. 16, at the pantry building just outside Avery County High School, next to the construction trailer being used as part of the high school’s ongoing renovation project.
“We know there are reasons people don’t come to see us. We serve up to 1,300 people a month, but there are more than 3,000 people are eligible. The other 55 or 60 percent aren’t being served, so we looked at why they aren’t being served,” FAF Executive Director Dick Larson said during the dedication. “Part of it is pride, part of it has to do with fear of some of our Latino friends and neighbors being seen, while part of it may be transportation and being unable to get to where we are, so the idea of this was to try to build these units and disseminate them throughout the county so that if you’re down at Riverside or over in Banner Elk or in Cranberry, even if you can’t get to us, there is food available that you can get.”
The pantries were constructed thanks to the work of the carpentry classes of teacher Nick Daniels at Avery High School, who were able to construct a unit in approximately two weeks time, according to Colton Boone, one of the carpentry students who helped build the pantry structures.
“We went to a series of organizations looking for sponsorship in this effort. High Country Charitable Foundation gave us $7,500 toward the project, and Food Lion Feeds contributed a grant, Fifth-Third Bank and its foundation provided us with grant funding and the Presbytery of Western North Carolina, so we had all the buildings funded for the first year,” Larson said.
The pantries will be available at five locations that are in the vicinity of local schools to serve citizens in multiple communities across Avery County.