The Scoop: UUCA’s Hunger & Homeless Committee


Lots of social justice work happens behind-the-scenes at UUCA.  One of our most active groups is the Hunger & Homelessness Committee.  They are involved in a variety of projects, including the MANNA lunch pack program, the direct donation of funds to MANNA as a result of the MANNA Pie Party, the CROP Walk, donations for Haywood Street Respite and participation in the Buncombe County Schools Child Nutrition Program funded by USDA.  Here are reports from two of these programs.

UUCA Contributes to the Success of the Buncombe County Schools Child Nutrition Program

For detailed information about this wonderful Buncombe County program, read this June Mountain Xpress article.

Judy Mattox and The Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Asheville organized 4 free lunch sites for the summer of 2015, which was an increase over our 3 sites in 2014, and 2 sites in 2013.  We served 4500 lunches, with 51 volunteers who gave a total of  550 hours! We partnered with 2 Christian churches, the Reuter Center, and the Leicester community.

Roughly 50% of all Buncombe County students are eligible for free & reduced school lunches which disappear in the summer.  In 2014 roughly 5% of the needed lunches were served & in 2015 roughly 10% were served.  The number of sites & lunches increased, but so much more remains to be done to feed our children.  Note that his program is not directly related to the free & reduced price school lunch program.  Anyone who shows up for the summer program can eat.

The following is a breakdown of our data for each site:

Woodridge Apartments at Emma in West Asheville
Ann McLellan, supervisor with 13 volunteers
Lunches:  5 days @ week with 50 lunches for 8 weeks
Totals:  1950 lunches with 150 volunteer hours
Volunteers: Karin Eckert, Nancy Heath & Larry Wheeler, Barbara Kruszewski, Bob & Eleanor Lane, Al & Nancy Long, Marianne Newman, Ann McLellan, Judy Mattox, Beth Weegar, Susan Reynolds

Woodfin Trailer Park in Woodfin
Steve Pohl, supervisor with 12 volunteers and partnership with Woodfin Christian Church Journey Group which staffed 2 of the 5 week days
Lunches: 5 days @ week with 30 lunches for 8 weeks
Totals: 1170 lunches with 145 volunteer hours
Volunteers: Susan Barasch, Rusty Bryant, Stephanie Layton, Judy Mattox, Betsie Meyer, Sheila Murphy, Steve Pohl, Joyce Sexton, Martha & Rod Shephard, Rich Wasch, Karen Ziff
(Note:  This site had no shelter; volunteers had to pick up 2 tents and tables from the Woodfin Elementary school, set them up, and return them to the school for storage each day.)

Wellington Estates in Arden
Tom Blanford, supervisor with 12 volunteers, 5 substitutes, and partnership with Nativity Lutheran Church which staffed 1 of the 5 week days
Lunches: 5 days @ week with 25 lunches for 8 weeks
Totals: 975 lunches with 115 volunteer hours
Volunteers: Jan & Michael Beech, Tom Blanford, Ann Lewis, Judy Mattox, Kathy Tempelaar-Lietz, Anna & Clark Olsen, Dick & Sandy Purdy, Bill & Sherry Wothke with substitutes Bee Frame, Dick & Sylvie Horvath, Bobbi Laratta, Catherine Jordan

Leicester Community Center in Leicester
Judy Olevnik & Lu Ellen Holcombe, supervisors with 17 volunteers, many of whom were from the Reuter Center and the Leicester community
Lunches: 4 days @ week with 10 lunches for 8 weeks
Totals: 310 lunches with 140 volunteer hours
Volunteers: Paul Cupp, Debbie & Ian Fischer, Mary & Mike Goodman, Jennifer Gorman, Phil Griffin, Lu Ellen Holcombe, Tim Hyatt,  Rosie Luke, Judy Mattox, Judy Olevnik,  Linda Palmer, Fred & Rose Patz, Karen Yap, Marnett Yeager

UUCA Collects $1,370 for MANNA Food Bank through the Pie Party 

Have you ever seen 50 pies in one room, waiting to be gobbled up? That’s exactly what happened on September 6 at our third annual Pie Party sponsored by the Hunger & Homelessness Committee of our Earth and Social Justice Ministry. Our two goals were to create fun and fellowship with/for our congregation AND to raise money for the hungry in our community with a donation to Manna Food Bank.

Approximately 50 pies of all descriptions were devoured by attendees.  No one left hungry as they sampled  meat, chicken, veggie, dessert, purchased pies and pies made by youth.

Thanks, and special appreciation goes to all those who made/brought pies, and to all those who made donations to MANNA Food Bank. A highlight of the party was an auction of pies made by two winners from last year’s party:  Joy McConnell, for her Chocolate Delight dessert pie, and Owen Riedesel for THE OWEN SPECIAL, which won Best of Show.  The raffle brought in $150 and we raised a total of $1,371.63 for MANNA.

This year’s pie winner’s were: Tom Blanford for best Veggie Pie (Firecracker!); Diane Martin for best Meat/Chicken pie (English Shepherd’s Pie); Karen Waters for best Dessert pie (Apple); Brent Miller for best Youth Pie (Unknown Adventure); Sherry Wothke for best Purchased pie (Mississippi Mud); and Rik Schell for Best in Show pie (Rhubarb).

Many thanks to all who participated in this fun event, and to the dedicated Pie Party Committee members and all the volunteers who made it happen. Pie Party Sunday is always the BEST COFFEE HOUR OF THE YEAR.

If you are interested in participating in any of the activities of the Hunger & Homelessness Committee, contact Joyce Sexton, Committee Chair.