Local philanthropists pledge matching gift challenge to support Pisgah Legal Services

PLS provides free civil legal services essential during COVID-19 pandemic and beyond

Locals Ray and Diane McPhail have pledged to match up to $25,000 in donations to sustain free civil legal aid for local people through the work of nonprofit Pisgah Legal Services (PLS). 

All gifts made to the PLS’ Plateau Poverty Law Initiative, which benefits residents with low incomes living throughout Macon and Jackson counties, will be matched dollar for dollar until Feb. 28, 2021 or until the $25,000 goal is reached.

Ray said he supports PLS coming to Highlands and Cashiers to help those in need who can’t afford a lawyer.

“I grew up among good people who were poor,” said Ray. “Because many did not have access to education, others took advantage of them, and they did not know where to turn. A sick family member or a loss of a job precipitated a disaster, maybe an eviction or foreclosure. Pisgah Legal is now here to stand up for them. I hope others will join us in helping provide a champion for people who are in need.”

PLS, a nonprofit that provides free, civil legal aid in Western North Carolina (WNC), expanded to join the network of resources available to people with low-incomes in Macon and Jackson counties in early 2020, just as the pandemic began. 

In its first year in the area, PLS helped more than 400 people locally with protection from domestic violence, homelessness prevention, income security, and access to health insurance.

“Our presence in the community continues to grow as people are learning about who we are and what we do,” said Megan Quattlebaum, PLS’ Highlands/Cashiers Community Engagement Manager. “It’s important that we continue to offer these services to individuals and families who are struggling now more than ever during this difficult and unprecedented time. We are so grateful to the McPhails for their incredibly generous gift and opportunity to raise the funds needed to continue this life-changing work.”

In addition to the ongoing legal work that is happening for the most part remotely in order to limit the spread of COVID-19, a new Pisgah Legal office has been established at 209 Hospital Drive, Suite 203 in Highlands.

Since 1978, nonprofit PLS has provided free civil legal aid to struggling people so they may seek justice and meet their basic needs.

PLS provides a broad array of legal services in 11 WNC counties and offers health and immigration law services in 18 counties. Last year PLS served more than 20,000 people across the WNC mountain region.

PLS continues to operate during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak. The staff is working remotely, helping clients and taking new applications for assistance with critical needs.

Want to Help?

Giving online is fast, easy and secure HERE or contact Community Engagement Manager Megan Quattlebaum by phone at 828.575.1353 or via email: megan@pisgahlegal.org.

Checks may be mailed to Pisgah Legal Services, P.O. Box 2276, Asheville, N.C.  28802

If you or someone you know needs help, call Pisgah Legal’s Highlands/Cashiers office at 828.210.3424. 

Online applications are also being accepted HERE. Pisgah Legal staff and volunteer attorneys will be in touch via phone and/or email.

Article and image courtesy of Pisgah Legal Services

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