Cashiers nonprofit organizations, restaurant owners, and volunteers banded together to deliver weekly dinners to area families who have fallen on hard times since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of WNC in Cashiers Program Coordinator Danielle Hernandez said there was a need in the community and people are doing what they can to help remedy that.
“The Cashiers community has shown it’s true colors since COVID-19 surfaced – kindness, compassion, generosity and overwhelming support for one another,” said Hernandez. “The Boys and Girls Club [BGC] stepped up quickly and initiated a community wide effort to ensure families of need would be able to have a hot meal during the week and coordinated a tremendous collaboration between community restaurants.”
BBBS joined BGC’s efforts to ensure program families do not have to go without food.
Hernandez brought the initiative to Nancy Albers, Advisory Council Chairwoman for the Cashiers program, who quickly took lead and began furthering the community efforts with weekly meal deliveries in coordination with Mica’s Restaurant owner, Dale McElroy, and Danny’s BBQ owner, Danny Handley.
Albers also created an online fundraiser via FaceBook to raise funds to help with food costs for meals prepared by Mica’s and Danny’s BBQ, and rallied several volunteers to help with meal packaging.
“Delivering meals to those in need is a community effort,” said Albers. “These are tough times and we’re trying to give back. The families are so appreciative, it’s really amazing. It worked out well.”
The final meal delivery on was on May 26 and helped feed 122 people, though Albers said there were weeks they fed as many as 175.
Volunteer Tami Carlstedt was on hand week after week helping to package meals for delivery.
“I just show up where they need me because it’s the right thing to do,” said Carlstedt. “I have a lot in life and I just want to give back. Everybody should.”
Handley said once he heard about the idea he was on board.
“I thought it was a great idea, especially because Nancy and Dale were involved,” said Handley.
Hernandez said it was a team effort to bring the initiative to fruition.
“I’m grateful for the love and support the community has offered one another during these trying times, and am further thankful for the generosity of donors and local restaurants to support families in our program,” she said. “It has been an incredible blessing to work alongside fellow advocates who are passionately involved and willing to give their time, from those volunteering within the BBBS program and more specifically, those who are giving their time and funds to ensure our families are provided for when the need is highest through these meal initiatives.”
Hernandez added BBBS looks forward to working with BGC on future endeavors.