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Food ministry finds new home

BAKERSVILLE – There will soon be a new home for the twice-monthly Neighbors Feeding Neighbors Food Ministry community meals. 

The Mitchell County Board of Commissioners at its regular meeting Tuesday, Sept. 3, unanimously approved a decision to allow the ministry to hold its community meals, which happen on two Saturdays each month, at the Mitchell County Senior Center free of charge. 

Amy and Allen Hoilman, and Josh Robinson from Neighbors Feeding Neighbors gave a brief presentation about the progress of their ministry at the meeting. 

Robinson said August was the ministry’s biggest month as the team delivered thousands of pounds of food to 911 people. While the ministry serves Avery, Yancey and Mitchell counties, Robinson said Mitchell County is the most significant portion.

Allen Hoilman said the ministry is looking for a permanent home for its free community meal that is handicapped-accessible and has a kitchen large enough to prepare the food. 

Commissioner Jeff Harding asked if the county has any buildings the ministry could use for the meals. 

Amy Hoilman said she has previously asked about the old Buladean School building but was told it would cost about $150 per each community meal – money she said takes away from the amount of food that can be served. 

Commissioner Matthew “Vern” Grindstaff mentioned the Senior Center as a possibility and asked about any potential liability issues and was assured by County Attorney Lloyd Hise there would be no issues the county’s existing insurance would not cover. 

Later in the meeting, the board revisited the topic. 

“We have a problem,” Harding said. “These guys are trying to fix it. We should not have this problem in our county. We probably throw away more food off our table than some of these people eat.”

Harding made a motion to allow the ministry to use the Senior Center for free two Saturdays each month. The motion was unanimously approved.

Amy Hoilman thanked the commissioners and said the ministry is willing to move the meals to different Saturdays each month to avoid scheduling conflicts with the Senior Center’s regular programs, if necessary. 

The MItchell News

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