Last year was very busy and productive at Feeding Avery Families (FAF), providing more than $700,000 worth of free food to the hungry in Avery County, North Carolina. Looking ahead to 2023, expect some amazing achievements as this non-profit organization expands. Here are some highlights from 2022:
- Began construction of the new $1.2 million FAF Operations Center, doubling the size of the current space. The 10,000 square foot building allows the return to client choice and many additional programs.
- Received more than $400,000 in donations for the new building, including $100,000 from the Cannon Foundation, $90,000 from High Country Charitable Foundation and $75,000 from Arbor Dale Presbyterian Church. This is in addition to $500,000 previously raised.
- Gave away 441,718 pounds of food in 2022, about 18% less than 2021 due to supply issues and higher food costs that affected our primary source of food, MANNA FoodBank. This was still enough food to create approximately 400,000 individual meals!
- Served a total of 5,486 families (13,425 individuals) on our 48 Distribution Fridays during 2022. This is an increase of 12% from 2021. Each family received an average of 50+ pounds of food – including boxes of groceries, frozen meats, produce, bread and more.
- Distributed 70 tons of fresh produce to promote healthier eating habits. Received $10,000 in grants to purchase more from local farms, including TRACTOR Food and Farms Cooperative in Spruce Pine and Trosley Farm in Elk Park.
- Secured 63% of the food for distribution at no cost, a value of $443,018. This is down from 88% last year due to less donated food and fewer opportunities to secure free food through government programs.
- Benefited greatly from 10,000+ volunteer hours from 350 volunteers.
- Provided 125 children in Avery County schools with a pack of groceries weekly for weekend meals.
- Supplied 300 food packs weekly to YMCA Summer Camp.
- Stocked pantries inside each of the nine Avery County schools with snacks for teachers to give to hungry students during the school day.
- Served 125 families each second Thursday of the month at the Mobile Community Market in partnership with Avery County Schools and MANNA FoodBank.
- Picked up donated food from Food Lion in Banner Elk 5 days a week, receiving 42,697 pounds of food, including fresh meats, deli and bakery.
- Received 40,204 pounds of food from customers of Lowes Food in Banner Elk, donated through “Friends Feeding Friends” program.
- Partnered with Project Dignity in Asheville to offer free feminine hygiene products on distribution Fridays.
- Distributed personal hygiene care items (toothpaste, soap etc.) thanks to $5,000 from Dogwood Health Trust and donations from local businesses.
- Began partnership with the Community Association in the old Beech Mountain area to deliver food to residents unable to travel to the center.
- Offered free dog and cat food to families at many weekly distributions.
- Kept cost per meal to just 35 cents, due to FAF’s ability to secure top quality food at very low costs and using hundreds of volunteers to keep administrative costs low.
- Celebrated two successful and unique fundraisers: received $2,026 from Linville River Pottery’s Clay for Community and $6,000 from Woolly Worm Festival parking by volunteers.
- Received $70,000 in operation grants from Wee Kirk Presbyterian, All Saints Episcopal Church, Arthur Family Foundation, Kiwanis Club of Banner Elk, Avery County Rotary Club and others.
Looking Ahead in 2023
Feeding Avery Families needs additional volunteers and financial contributions for expanding programs in the new year:
- Move into the new Operations Center by spring (189 Old Vale Road, Newland). The paving will be delayed until additional donations of $200,000 are received.
- Work with Avery County Emergency Management to equip the Operations Center as an Emergency Disaster Relief Center for people forced to leave homes due to fires, natural disasters or power outages.
- Begin a new outreach program for the Latino community, including hiring a Hispanic Outreach Coordinator to build relationships with 600+ families living in Avery County.
- Begin the Community Health Initiative, partnering with many sister agencies to improve health and quality of life for citizens through improved nutrition, access to other resources, and health follow-up. Thank you to Arbor Dale Church for their $25,000 donation.
- Expand Mobile Distributions to additional communities and locations for Avery County citizens unable to come to Friday distributions at the Operations Center.
- Collect final funds to cover building cost, with the aid of a $100,000 matching gift for donations through June.