Last Updated on April 6, 2023
Oftentimes, families receive assistance through government programs, but it isn’t enough to make ends meet. It’s up to the community to help neighbors who work seasonal jobs, suffer from a disability, have loved ones serving in the military, or have large families—any of whom may simply not be able to afford to provide an adequate amount of food for their loved ones.
Today, we’re shining a spotlight on one local organization that helps coordinate and promote those efforts. We invite you to learn more about Hickory Nut Gorge Outreach and how you can help them meet their mission.
What is Hickory Nut Gorge Outreach?
The mission of Outreach is “to help eliminate hunger and provide emergency services with love and compassion to those in need living in our community.” They do this by serving more than 75 families in the Hickory Nut Gorge Community, which extends into four counties (Rutherford, Polk, Buncombe, and Henderson). The nonprofit’s various efforts trace back to 2004, but Outreach has operated its food pantry and food access programs from their Memorial Highway location since 2010.
What do they do?
Hickory Nut Gorge Outreach provides a variety of services to support local families and individuals experiencing food insecurity and other financial issues. More than 60% of the people they support are children, and 7% are seniors.
Many of our neighbors in Hickory Nut Gorge experience hunger issues. Outreach’s food pantry provides a 5–7-day emergency food supply to local families and individuals. Clients shop once a month for pantry staples, fresh vegetables and fruits, and frozen and dairy items that best suit their families.
Support for area children
The need for Outreach’s Food For Kids Program (FFK) continues to grow. FFK provides school-age children with “backpacks” filled with well-balanced, healthy food for breakfast, lunch, and snacks each weekend. They also help support education through school supply drives and scholarship assistance.
Financial support and social services
Through Families in Need of Assistance (F.I.N.S.), Outreach provides some clients with emergency financial support to pay certain types of bills, based on a demonstrated need. Examples include medication, rent, utilities, and gas. They also offer the services of a part-time volunteer social worker by appointment.
Each year Outreach creates Thanksgiving meal boxes with all of the products needed to make a traditional holiday meal. Clients pick up the boxes and are able to make their own meals for their families. H.O.P.E. (Helping Other People Eat) Bags, designed to supplement these boxes, are provided to local churches and additional community members.
At Christmas, Outreach provides a gift card to clients, enabling them to purchase items for their holiday meal. And to round out their efforts, they manage an Angel Tree Gift Program, pairing local families with generous supporters who help provide a happy holiday for participating families.
How can I support Hickory Nut Gorge Outreach?
Make a donation
Donations make Outreach successful, and there are many ways to help through specific programs. You can “adopt” a Food For Kids recipient during the school year. Or you can select a recipient from the Angel Tree for the holidays. If you prefer to donate in kind, Outreach accepts food for their pantry, Holiday H.O.P.E. Bags, or food drives anytime. School supplies are also always needed. Click here for a list of always-needed food items and supplies.
Support a fundraiser
Outreach sponsors events throughout the year designed to raise funds and in-kind donations for their programs. Popular annual events include Souper Bowl Sunday, a spring Shrimp & Grits dinner at the Lake Lure Beach Pavilion, and school supply drives. Outreach also has a presence at the twice-annual Lake Lure Arts & Crafts Festival.
Outreach depends on volunteers to successfully operate and assist so many community members. For example, in 2016, 40+ volunteers worked 4,200+ hours to support Outreach programs. Tasks are generally easy and always rewarding, including staffing the food pantry, preparing weekend backpack and school lunches, or working for fundraisers.
Get more by giving back
At Allen Tate/Beverly-Hanks, we believe that everyone should have the opportunity and means to Live Abundantly in WNC. That’s why last month, we devoted the grand opening of our new Lake Lure office to collecting canned food for Outreach.
We also encourage you to donate time and money to an organization like Hickory Nut Gorge Outreach that means something to you. Reach out to Hickory Nut Gorge Outreach or contact your Allen Tate/Beverly-Hanks agent to learn about community nonprofits near you.
Hickory Nut Gorge Outreach
2556 Memorial Highway, Lake Lure | (828) 625-4683 | hickorynutgorgeoutreach.org