JEFFERSON-The Ashe County Sharing Center recently moved into spacious new digs in Jefferson.
The organization has moved into what was once the old Jefferson Elementary School property at 115 Colvard Street in Jefferson. The agency received its first full Second Harvest Food Bank shipment on June 3, 2016.
“This is something we’ve honestly needed for a very long time,” Ashe Sharing Center Executive Director Michael Sexton said last week. “The old location in West Jefferson was a tight fit but we’ve got much more room to grow here.”
The Sharing Center is one of a number of custom-built local charities designed to tackle specific challenges facing Ashe County. Founded in 1983 as a local charity with a broad mission to help those in need, the center refocused its mission on feeding the hungry in recent years.
Since then, it’s been able to launch multiple pantry projects, including a kids’ pantry at Mountain View Elementary and Wilkes Community College, a mobile pantry serving Creston and Lansing and most recently, a pantry at Ashe Memorial Hospital that has been well received by healthcare leaders across the state.
But the growing operation said it needed to move beyond the relatively tiny space offered at its old North 3rd Avenue location in West Jefferson, so it agreed to a 99-year lease with the Ashe County Board of Commissioners for what was an aging former elementary school beside Daymark Recovery Services in Jefferson.
Sexton said the spacious property will allow the center to centralize and expand its food storage – food is currently stored at six different locations – and move into community initiatives like health screenings, shots and tests, along with space to hold seminars on subjects like financial management, cooking and health care that could benefit the Sharing Centers clientele.
Last year alone, the Sharing Center served more than 8,300 households across five pantries and distributed more than 300,000 pounds of food, according to Sexton. That effort took more than 5,000 hours offered up by more than 100 volunteers.
Reach Adam Orr at 336-846-7164.