Hickory Nut Gorge Outreach: “Overwhelming Gratitude”

Stories of Hope from WNC

As part of #MANNAfestingHope, we are sharing quotes and stories from across WNC to highlight the reality of who needs food support right now. This story comes from our dedicated partners at Hickory Nut Gorge Outreach in Lake Lure, NC, who are operating throughout the pandemic to ensure members of the community have access to emergency food resources right when they need them.

Touched Our Hearts

“We have added many new clients to the Outreach roster throughout the pandemic. One gentleman, in particular, touched our hearts. He worked as an installer for a major hardware store and his wife was also employed full-time. With their three children – aged 4, 8 and 14 –  they had a comfortable lifestyle and had never needed outside assistance.

Both were laid off due to COVID-19. They applied for unemployment benefits, and while waiting for their checks, found themselves struggling to buy food for their family. A neighbor told the gentleman about our Food Pantry. He did not know what to expect, having never been to a food pantry before, and we knew as soon as we saw him that he was embarrassed because he needed help. We explained that we had many new clients in the same situation and let him know how our process normally worked (clients shop inside the Food Pantry, selecting the products that best fit their families). We went on to share the changes made as a result of COVID-19 (curbside service), explaining that our top priority was keeping clients and volunteers safe and healthy.

After spending time discussing his choices for food for his family, our volunteers packaged the items for him and brought them to his car. To say he was shocked when we brought out four large boxes filled with food, toiletries, laundry detergent, paper products and dog food would be an understatement. He was simply overwhelmed. After thanking our volunteers many times over, he went on to say that once he was back on his feet, he would be donating to Outreach. We thanked him and let him know he could come back each month until he and his wife were back to working and able to feed their family on their own. He left with tears in his eyes and had several of our volunteers in tears as well. This is just one example. We have seen this over and over in during this pandemic.”

As we all work together to meet this increased need for food, we hope you remember that there is a personal story that goes along with every number we report. Together, with your vital support, we will continue to be there for thousands of families across WNC, just like this one. Your help provides more than a plate of food…it is providing hope.

Hickory Nut Gorge Outreach hosts a drive-through food pantry on Monday, Thursday, and Friday from 10am-3pm.