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Old 02-16-2009, 09:14 AM
 
Location: Dillon, Montana
586 posts, read 1,883,744 times
Reputation: 605

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I've posted here a lot on different subjects and dropped hints here and there as to who I am and what I do, so I thought I would throw this out there to all you folks who live in the area. It's also good info for those who are looking to relocate to this area.

I am a United Methodist Candidate (as opposed to a pastor) waiting for an appointment to my own congregation. While I'm waiting, I am developing and directing our church's food ministry, Casting Bread Food Pantry. We are located between Blowing Rock and Boone at Aho Rd. and Hwy 321 at the FaithBridge UMC church offices. We don't have our own worship building yet, and because of the economy, looks like we won't start building now until 2010. But we do have office space! We currently meet for worship at the Blowing Rock School Auditorium on Sunset Dr. in Blowing Rock at 11:00 on Sundays. If you'd like to visit, be warned . . . we are LOUD! lol

There are 4 other food pantries, besides Casting Bread, in the county that are partners with Feeding America and the Second Harvest Food Bank of WNC. The largest is The Hunger Coalition. They are doing a great job feeding the homeless, the chronically poor, and the working poor. They also have a low or no cost pharmacy. The Hunger Coalition feeds only those who live in Watauga County, and only those who are 135% below the poverty level, federal guidelines. They are also a "box" ministry. Whatever is in the box is what you get! We greatly appreciate what the HC does in our community, and we have a cooperative relationship. They are open M - F, 8 to 5.

The other pantries are also "box" ministries, open only 1 day a week, operated out of churches. There is also a pantry at the Hospitality House homeless shelter in Boone. I have info on those if you need it.

The Casting Bread Food Pantry has been a not so well kept secret. We are a small church, only 110 members, but our pantry client roll is over 400 individuals. In 2007 we distributed 18,000 lbs of food to an average of 50 families a month. In 2008 we distributed 32,500 lbs to an average of 100 families per month. In 2009 we are serving an average of 156 families per month. We serve a multi county area, with clients coming from as far away as Mountain City, TN, a severely underserved area. Last week, we saw our first client from Caldwell Co. She was in Boone looking for work and needed help with groceries. She cried the entire time she was there. (There are NO jobs in Caldwell Co.- Lenoir/Granite Falls/Hudson)

Instead of being a "box" ministry, we allow clients to "shop," picking off the shelves what suits them the best. We also have many clients who bring food to us, food that they cannot eat, or don't know what to do with (Couscous!!). When people find a job and get back on their feet, they often bring in bags of doanations on a regular basis. We love our clients and they know it! It's all about relationship.

We are expanding our work to include employment counseling, financial counseling, education counseling, and with critical needs of the elderly and disabled such as home repair and possibly car maintenence and tires. We are currently building a small room for food storage, as I have been driving to Winston-Salem (180 miles, RT) once every 8 days to pick up food from the food bank. I drive a small Taurus and pull a utility trailer. On average, I bring home 1000 lbs of food per week.

During the holidays abd imediately after, the food bank was well stocked and we had no trouble feeding our folks. Now they are back to pre-thanksgiving levels and quotas on salvage foods have been put in place. I will now be allowed to bring home only 400 to 500 lbs of salvage food per trip.

The average male eats 40 lbs of food per week. Our families take home an average of 40 lbs per family per month. They make up the difference by visiting the other food pantries in the area. It's just barely enough. I'm seeing more and more families co-habitating, where out of 8 to 10 people, perhaps 1 is working. Many of our families have no reliable income, living on the "underground economy." Only 1/2 of our clients are eligible for food stamps, and of those, only 2/3's draw them. Most of our families have children in the home. Many have never needed assistance before. These I call the "Suddenly Poor."

If you are in the area and need a little help, call us at 828-295-8333. The food pantry is open from 11 to 4, Tuesdays and Wednesdays until spring. In April we will most likely expand our hours, IF I have the volunteers.

If you are in the area and would like to help, call me at the same number. You may need to leave a message but I will call you as soon as I am able. We do not have near the resources that the Hunger Coalition has (A United Way partner), and we feed many people that can't use the HC. If you found yourself "suddenly poor," with no income, but have over $2000 in assets, you will not qualify at the HC. We are not income based, but need based.

Our needs are:

Food. The most needed items are frozen vegetables, 1/2 gallons of 1% milk, and any generic margarine, preferably sticks that can be used for baking. Anything at all will be a big help!

Volunteers: We need people in many different capacities, from strictly brain power to heavy lifting. In between we need mentors, counselors, intake personel, shoppers, fund raisers and grant writers.

Money: Not a solicitation, just reality. It costs us $10 per family to provide enough food for a week. We also own a flock of 45 laying hens!!! They produce eggs for the pantry, but they also cost money to keep. Right now we are raising $350 to go towards a pen for them. And yes, they live at my house!

Freezers and refrigeration: We have 2 small box freezers and 1 large, but we need more! The government is providing us with meat that takes up a LOT of space! We have 2 household refridgerators but could use a commercial model to store baked goods and other perishables.

We are here for Watauga and the surrounding counties. We are here for YOU! If you're interested in helping or need help yourself, please contact us.

One comment on an intake form said, "I have never had to ask for help before. It is hard, but you people make it easy." Another said, "This is a awesome place!" I shared these and others with the congregation and almost broke down. It just hits you right in the heart.

If you'd like more information, please email me.

Thanks for reading! Now I have to go to the pantry and prepare for tomorrow. The Scouts dropped off their Scouting for Food donations yesterday, and I need to go to work on them! Happy Presidents Day!!

Last edited by SunnyKayak; 02-23-2009 at 06:07 AM.. Reason: no signatures
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Old 02-16-2009, 06:58 PM
 
Location: State of Being
35,881 posts, read 73,204,551 times
Reputation: 22668
Just wanted to thank you for the work you do - and support.
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Old 02-17-2009, 06:50 PM
 
Location: Boone, NC
1,164 posts, read 3,333,011 times
Reputation: 307
WOW, what a post. Thank you.
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Old 02-18-2009, 12:16 PM
 
Location: Dillon, Montana
586 posts, read 1,883,744 times
Reputation: 605
Quote:
Originally Posted by jdljr View Post
WOW, what a post. Thank you.
Aw . . . shucks!
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Old 02-19-2009, 06:13 PM
 
Location: Dillon, Montana
586 posts, read 1,883,744 times
Reputation: 605
Wrong phone number!

I didn't have my glasses on when I wrote this post! The correct Church/pantry phone number is 828-295-8333

Thanks for the heads up Jon!

Tracey
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Old 02-19-2009, 06:56 PM
 
Location: Up above the world so high!
45,242 posts, read 96,291,183 times
Reputation: 40140
[quote=hymnsinger;7486680]I've posted here a lot on different subjects and dropped hints here and there as to who I am and what I do, so I thought I would throw this out there to all you folks who live in the area. It's also good info for those who are looking to relocate to this area.

I am a United Methodist Candidate (as opposed to a pastor) waiting for an appointment to my own congregation. While I'm waiting, I am developing and directing our church's food ministry, Casting Bread Food Pantry. We are located between Blowing Rock and Boone at Aho Rd. and Hwy 321 at the FaithBridge UMC church offices. We don't have our own worship building yet, and because of the economy, looks like we won't start building now until 2010. But we do have office space! We currently meet for worship at the Blowing Rock School Auditorium on Sunset Dr. in Blowing Rock at 11:00 on Sundays. If you'd like to visit, be warned . . . we are LOUD! lol

There are 4 other food pantries, besides Casting Bread, in the county that are partners with Feeding America and the Second Harvest Food Bank of WNC. The largest is The Hunger Coalition. They are doing a great job feeding the homeless, the chronically poor, and the working poor. They also have a low or no cost pharmacy. The Hunger Coalition feeds only those who live in Watauga County, and only those who are 135% below the poverty level, federal guidelines. They are also a "box" ministry. Whatever is in the box is what you get! We greatly appreciate what the HC does in our community, and we have a cooperative relationship. They are open M - F, 8 to 5.

The other pantries are also "box" ministries, open only 1 day a week, operated out of churches. There is also a pantry at the Hospitality House homeless shelter in Boone. I have info on those if you need it.

The Casting Bread Food Pantry has been a not so well kept secret. We are a small church, only 110 members, but our pantry client roll is over 400 individuals. In 2007 we distributed 18,000 lbs of food to an average of 50 families a month. In 2008 we distributed 32,500 lbs to an average of 100 families per month. In 2009 we are serving an average of 156 families per month. We serve a multi county area, with clients coming from as far away as Mountain City, TN, a severely underserved area. Last week, we saw our first client from Caldwell Co. She was in Boone looking for work and needed help with groceries. She cried the entire time she was there. (There are NO jobs in Caldwell Co.- Lenoir/Granite Falls/Hudson)

Instead of being a "box" ministry, we allow clients to "shop," picking off the shelves what suits them the best. We also have many clients who bring food to us, food that they cannot eat, or don't know what to do with (Couscous!!). When people find a job and get back on their feet, they often bring in bags of doanations on a regular basis. We love our clients and they know it! It's all about relationship.

We are expanding our work to include employment counseling, financial counseling, education counseling, and with critical needs of the elderly and disabled such as home repair and possibly car maintenence and tires. We are currently building a small room for food storage, as I have been driving to Winston-Salem (180 miles, RT) once every 8 days to pick up food from the food bank. I drive a small Taurus and pull a utility trailer. On average, I bring home 1000 lbs of food per week.

During the holidays abd imediately after, the food bank was well stocked and we had no trouble feeding our folks. Now they are back to pre-thanksgiving levels and quotas on salvage foods have been put in place. I will now be allowed to bring home only 400 to 500 lbs of salvage food per trip.

The average male eats 40 lbs of food per week. Our families take home an average of 40 lbs per family per month. They make up the difference by visiting the other food pantries in the area. It's just barely enough. I'm seeing more and more families co-habitating, where out of 8 to 10 people, perhaps 1 is working. Many of our families have no reliable income, living on the "underground economy." Only 1/2 of our clients are eligible for food stamps, and of those, only 2/3's draw them. Most of our families have children in the home. Many have never needed assistance before. These I call the "Suddenly Poor."

If you are in the area and need a little help, call us at 828-295-8333. The food pantry is open from 11 to 4, Tuesdays and Wednesdays until spring. In April we will most likely expand our hours, IF I have the volunteers.

If you are in the area and would like to help, call me at the same number. You may need to leave a message but I will call you as soon as I am able. We do not have near the resources that the Hunger Coalition has (A United Way partner), and we feed many people that can't use the HC. If you found yourself "suddenly poor," with no income, but have over $2000 in assets, you will not qualify at the HC. We are not income based, but need based.

Our needs are:

Food. The most needed items are frozen vegetables, 1/2 gallons of 1% milk, and any generic margarine, preferably sticks that can be used for baking. Anything at all will be a big help!

Volunteers: We need people in many different capacities, from strictly brain power to heavy lifting. In between we need mentors, counselors, intake personel, shoppers, fund raisers and grant writers.

Money: Not a solicitation, just reality. It costs us $10 per family to provide enough food for a week. We also own a flock of 45 laying hens!!! They produce eggs for the pantry, but they also cost money to keep. Right now we are raising $350 to go towards a pen for them. And yes, they live at my house!

Freezers and refrigeration: We have 2 small box freezers and 1 large, but we need more! The government is providing us with meat that takes up a LOT of space! We have 2 household refridgerators but could use a commercial model to store baked goods and other perishables.

We are here for Watauga and the surrounding counties. We are here for YOU! If you're interested in helping or need help yourself, please contact us.

One comment on an intake form said, "I have never had to ask for help before. It is hard, but you people make it easy." Another said, "This is a awesome place!" I shared these and others with the congregation and almost broke down. It just hits you right in the heart.

If you'd like more information, please email me.

Thanks for reading! Now I have to go to the pantry and prepare for tomorrow. The Scouts dropped off their Scouting for Food donations yesterday, and I need to go to work on them! Happy Presidents Day!!




Tracey, when I win the lottery, you're on my list. Until then, you have my admiration and prayers.

Last edited by SunnyKayak; 02-23-2009 at 06:08 AM.. Reason: quote was edited
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Old 02-20-2009, 07:35 PM
 
Location: Boone, NC
1,164 posts, read 3,333,011 times
Reputation: 307
Quote:
Originally Posted by hymnsinger View Post
Wrong phone number!

I didn't have my glasses on when I wrote this post! The correct Church/pantry phone number is 828-295-8333

Thanks for the heads up Jon!

Tracey
You're welcome. :-)

Hope to see you sometime this coming week. I will be at the office Mon, Tue, Thu and Fri. Debbie should be there Mon, Tue, Wed and Thu. So the days that we'll both be there will be Mon, Tue and Thu. Also, our manager will be there ONLY Monday this coming week, I think I saw on the calendar, if you wanted to see her too.

Jon
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Old 03-06-2009, 07:35 PM
 
Location: Dillon, Montana
586 posts, read 1,883,744 times
Reputation: 605
For anyone interested, I will be speaking to the Boone Lion's Club at the Sagebrush on 105, Tuesday, March 17th at 11:30. I'll be addressing food insecurity and hunger assistance in the High Country.

Jon, I haven't forgotten you! I got sick and had to slow down a bit. I'm well on the way to being my old self, and will try to get into your office next Thursday.

Blessings,
Tracey
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Old 03-06-2009, 09:14 PM
 
1,094 posts, read 2,858,816 times
Reputation: 735
This is a life saving service to many, I'm sure! Thank you!!
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Old 03-10-2009, 05:09 PM
 
Location: Dillon, Montana
586 posts, read 1,883,744 times
Reputation: 605
Talking I'm in the Paper!

0309suddenlypoor

There are many unsung heroes in food assistance ministry! Bless one of them in your neighborhood today! You've all blessed me!

Special thanks to you, Annie!! A card and receipt will be in your mailbox soon!

An Incredibly Busy,
Tracey
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