The Open Door’s Second Season

When the Open Door closed in Frog Level earlier this year, Long’s Chapel Pastor Chris Westmoreland promised a rebirth, looking forward to the food ministry’s next 25 years.

Mountain Credit Union Partners with MANNA Food Bank

Earlier this month, Mountain Credit Union partnered with MANNA Food Bank to provide meals that will help end food insecurity in the 16 counties of Western North Carolina.

Moving forward by circling back: Pathways new kitchen manager brings education, experience

Haywood Pathways Center’s mission has always been to help people from all walks of life get back on their feet, but now for the first time in the organization’s six-year history, it’s taking a bold step into the world of workforce development that could also help alleviate staffing shortages in the region’s hospitality sector. 

Volunteers ‘fill in the gaps’ of the food security spectrum

Passing modest, nondescript houses with swing sets and dog houses in their yards, the big red pickup truck lumbered up the winding mountain road, bed filled with bread, cereal boxes, canned goods and the like. Negotiating one final hairpin, it slowly creeps into the grassy driveway of Hannah Orlikowski. 

Schools keep kids fed during pandemic

North Carolina is regularly ranked as one of the 10 hungriest states in the nation. According to Feeding America data from 2018, North Carolina had a child food insecurity rate of 19.3 percent, with Haywood County at a rate of 21 percent. During the pandemic, Feeding America found that a majority of food banks report seeing a record increase in the number of people needing help, with an average increase of 60 percent across the country. 

Food insecurity triples in WNC

Food insecurity in Western North Carolina has nearly tripled during the COVID-19 pandemic as people struggle to put food on the table. 

Little free pantry ‘fills in the cracks’

You may be familiar with the concept of the “little free library” — those small outdoor cabinets stuffed with donated books intended to feed the imaginations of young and old alike — but the sobering reality of the nation’s roaring economy is that it’s given birth to a disturbing new permutation of the popular donation-based book boxes: the “little free pantry,” stuffed with food intended to feed Western North Carolina’s increasingly poor and hungry children and adults.

Western North Carolina’s children are increasingly poor and hungry

For most, childhood is a time of growth, learning and stability nurtured by fertile environmental and economic conditions that ultimately prepare young people to become the leaders of tomorrow. 

In much of North Carolina, the future’s not nearly that bright. 

Feeding the fight against food insecurity

On one of the first warm sunny Saturdays early in Western North Carolina’s tourist season, the traditional signs of a Maggie Valley summer — small groups of motorcycles and pedestrians idling down Soco Road — were on full display. Not far off, on a small parcel of land nestled between a Baptist church and a distillery, a different group of people was planting some seasonal signs of their own. 

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