In 1982, Andy McBride of First United Methodist Church and Ed Congdon of Trinity Presbyterian Church met with Jim Pearce and others at First Baptist Church to discuss a vital need in Henderson County—food assistance for county residents in crisis. The Henderson County Hunger Coalition took shape from those discussions.
Fifteen representatives from various denominations comprised the original Hunger Coalition Executive Board. By-Laws of a new organization were developed. The first action by the Coalition was raising funds through a “Hunger Walk” to partially subsidize several non-profit charitable agencies providing food assistance in the community. The agencies were asked to send applications justifying their needs. After the applications were studied and approved, grants were made to each agency based on what was raised by the Walk. The first eligible agencies receiving grants were Interfaith Assistance Ministry, First Presbyterian and St. James Episcopal food kitchens, Council on Aging, Western Carolina Community Action, Ministry Seven (now Hendersonville Rescue Mission), Manna Food Bank, Mainstay (now Safelight), Salvation Army, and Blue Ridge Health Center.
Ground Rules for the Hunger Walk event were established and churches encouraged to form teams and participate. Schools, business organizations and civic groups were also approached. Folks from all over the community volunteered to obtain “pledges-per-mile” or straight donations to support their Walk. All monies raised were dedicated to alleviating hunger in Henderson County. The first Hunger Walk was held on a dirt and gravel road around Lake Osceola, raising around $20,000.
A wonderful beginning…
An on-going battle to assure no one need go hungry in Henderson County!