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Goodbye, 2020. Check out some highlights from the year as Food Connection adjusted our model to incorporate the purchasing of fresh meals from local chef partners. This is our Chef Meal Program! Over the first eight months of the pandemic we have connected over 100,000 meals to our neighbors in need across Western North Carolina.
Food Connection was handing out free chicken & waffle meals for people in need when this kind man from the Netherlands randomly showed up with all these beautiful bouquets of flowers to hand out with the meals. There are good people out there, y’all! (Turn on volume) These meals and the live music (featuring Ashley Heath!) were made possible by the folks from Groovin' on Grovemont. Our gratitude to Chef Allen Dye and team for caring for the community.
In these challenging times we believe that some neighbors could not only use a delicious meal, but some inspiring live music, as well. Last Saturday we were delighted to have The Paper Crowns perform thanks to the folks with "Groovin' on Grovemont" who brought not only the sweet sounds, but the savory venison (or veggie) pasta dinners at our Swannanoa Valley Complimentary Drive-Thru meal. (Shout outs to Chef Allen Dye, a regular Food Connection food donor with M7 Events for the meals!)
This time of year Blue Ridge Assembly is usually teeming with activity. Conferences that often would create leftover food which they would donate to Food Connection. Instead, gatherings have been cancelled due to COVID, employees furloughed. However, we were excited last week to get Chef Hans and a few others back into the kitchen doing what they love through our Chef Meal Donations program. We were able to pay them to create beautiful meals of carnitas!
We were thrilled to get the call from Chef Shawn and Meghan from UNCA that they've safely reopened AND that they were ready to resume food donations to Food Connection! We just picked up nearly 200 pounds of freshly prepared roasted turkey, lentils, vegetable curry, Brunswick stew and much more and dropped it off at Trinity Place Shelter for Runaway Youth.
We worry more than ever about families not having enough fresh food to eat. We also worry about local businesses suffering during this pandemic. Our solution? Get local chefs back in the kitchen doing what they love while feeding our neighbors in need. Food Connection purchased meals from Chef Clarence Robinson for the Big Ivy Community Center in Barnardsville.
Old time music and the Swannanoa Valley go hand-in-hand. This one was full of sunshine, baked ziti, garlic bread, salad, AND music. Food Connection's amazing group of volunteers distributed 275 complimentary meals in 60 minutes. Neighbors looking out for neighbors. This is what community looks like AND sounds like. Thank you, Nic Coker, for coming out. Thank you, Wicked Weed Brewing for the meals.
Wow! Fiasco Pictures nailed it again! We continue to be blown away by the GOOD people of Asheville and their willingness to help out. From the talented chefs making the meals, the ridiculously talented musicians who sing and play uplifting songs at our meal distributions and now this... our friends at Fiasco Pictures came out Saturday and brilliantly captured our event.
We know that many families have been hit hard by this pandemic. And, that many local businesses have been hit hard, as well. Recently we were able to support locally-owned Taco Jalisco by purchasing delicious chicken burritos then distributing them to the women and children living in Helpmate's shelter and then delivered the remaining burritos to two different neighborhoods in Swannanoa.
This is what community looks like! So proud to be included alongside all of these amazing efforts. Shout outs to Fiasco Pictures and WLOS for making such a beautiful and inspiring video about working together in times of crisis to take care of each other.
More highlights from our Service Industry HEROES meal!
To our friends who've lost their jobs including those in the service industry and hospitality workers: Please join Food Connection for a free "to go" meal lovingly prepared by Wicked Weed Brewing's Cultura thanks to a generous gift from an anonymous donor! We will be setting up in the parking lot next to the Asheville Masonic Temple offering curbside service distributing meals from 12:00 pm until 2:00 pm or until they run out. THIS IS AN ONGOING SATURDAY MEAL!
Watch what happened today in Buncombe County when 200 Homebound Seniors and Children and Teens enjoyed delicious chef-prepared meals because of YOU, our supporters, who purchased meals for Food Connection. We used the money to pay for the raw goods for Celine and Company Catering to prepare meals for us. If you'd like to purchase meals for those in need, click here!
This past week we've continued to move a lot of delicious food to our partner agencies in need. Our gratitude goes out to Michael and the Ridgecrest team for creating "grab bags" filled with fresh produce, dairy and more which we took to several mobile home communities. And big thanks to Chef Susan and crew at Givens Highland Farms who provided us with sweet and sour pork, chicken pie, shrimp and grits and so much more. And thank you Cracker Barrel!
Huge shouts of gratitude to our Chef Partners who participated in our 2021 Chef Dance Off fundraiser for Stop Food Waste Day! Watch the highlights video! We raised over $7000 thanks to a big contribution from Wicked Weed Brewing.