ASHE COUNTY — Ashe Outreach Ministries is in it’s seventh year in partnering with Ashe County Schools to provide a program aimed to ensure that no child goes hungry on the weekends.
According to Ashe Outreach, one in four children in Ashe County are in danger of leaving school on Friday to find little or no food at home. Many of these children participate in the free and reduced lunch program but are left without food on the weekends.
Ashe Outreach was one of North Carolina’s first pilot Backpack programs that began in October of 2005 by Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest North Carolina with a grant from Lowe’s Foods. Now, Ashe Outreach now provides 340 children weekly during the school year and 100 weekly during the summer with weekend food.
Children are given 12 to 15 pound bags containing nutritious food each Friday. Most of what is given is easy to open and kid friendly and is enough for a family of four to eat three meals. Rice, peas, carrots, mixed vegetables, macaroni, shelf stable milk, cereal, instant oatmeal and breakfast bars are among some of the items given out.
“Testimonials speak of the blessing that over the weekend 340 Ashe County school kids will think of something beyond hunger, unlocking and enabling their imagination and creativity while kindling self-confidence and inclusion,” Director Rev. Rob Brooks said. “Because of a nutritious bag of food provided each Friday by Ashe Outreach Ministries, families will be fed and take the opportunity to join at the table, enhancing all aspects of family including an opportune time to pray.”
Ashe Outreach is now encouraging community members to help make a difference by giving as little as half a dollar a day or to match the daily amount spent on a doughnut.
In the summer, Ashe Outreach also sponsors a free lunch on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday for kids and parents. The lunch is held at Riverview Community Center in Creston on weekdays and at The Early Learning Center Cafeteria in West Jefferson on Saturdays. Both locations serve lunch from 11 a.m. until 12 p.m.
With all of it’s programs, Ashe Outreach feeds 2,300 community members per month with essential emergency food. Within three years, a total of 1,070,000 pounds equal to 2,140,000 meals were served to those who are hungry in Ashe County.
70 percent of that food is distributed to the Creston and Lansing zip codes, covering the northwestern region of Ashe County.
Over 200 volunteers, including 50 local churches and organizations assist Ashe Outreach with all of their programs.
Donations can be made to PO Box 157 Creston, NC 28615 or by PayPal listed at www.asheoutreach.org.
For more information contact Brooks at 336-977-1377.
Hannah Myers can be reached at 336-846-7164 or on Twitter @cmedia_hmyers.