The Highlands Emergency Council hosted the 6th annual Bluegrass Festival fundraiser at Kelsey-Hutchinson Founders Park in Highlands on July 27. Performing was Avery Eisenman & the Clydes who cranked out solid bluegrass jams for visitors who chowed down on chili-dogs while enjoying the day.
The event raised over $5K and HEC’s Coordinator of grants, programs, and projects, Mary Anne Cresswell, said this event is vital to operations at the HEC.
“We have so many programs and projects that we offer, we need to host events like this to be visible to the community and let them know that we give as well as receive donations.”
HEC is a grassroots organization of “People helping People,” established in 1985 to assist folks in the Highlands area.
HEC’s mission is to assist low-income residents in the area, including senior citizens, young families, single-parent families, those without a job, and disaster victims. There are no paid staff and HEC functions solely on donations and grants.
Assistance to the community comes in the form of help with fuel costs, access to a food pantry, household items, clothes, appliances, and furniture.
Cresswell said the fuel-assistance program is the most expensive program they offer, but another program of note is the Angel Christmas Tree where low-income families are put on the tree (it’s anonymous) and includes the families’ sizes and other helpful shopping information that allows donors to sponsor families over the holiday season.
Cresswell said the HEC could not provide the support it does without the help of the community and its volunteers.
“A deep heartfelt thanks to everyone who was involved,” said Cresswell. “And to the community, our main thing is gratitude for their big heart and allowing us to channel their gifts to those who need it.”
HEC is located at 71 Poplar Street, Highlands, N.C. For more information call 828.526.4357.