Could you feed yourself on $4.15 a day?

Published 10:00 pm Tuesday, August 25, 2015

George alley2
Did you know that September is Hunger Action Month? It’s the time of year that Feeding America and its member food banks and food pantries ask everyone in America to take action to fight hunger in their community. This is your opportunity to join a movement that has a real and lasting impact on our effort to feed more Americans than ever before.

Thermal Belt Outreach Ministry (“Outreach”) is asking local families to make generous donations of food (please no glass jars) during the month of September. Your contribution can be dropped off Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. and Friday from 9 a.m. – noon at 134 White Drive in Columbus any time during September.

Or, you can participate in the SNAP challenge for a week. The SNAP Challenge gives participants a view of the struggle to obtain adequate food that is faced by millions of low-income Americans and far too many residents of our community.

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By living on the average food stamp benefit of $4.15 per day, participants find themselves forced to make food shopping choices on a limited budget, and learn how difficult it is to avoid hunger, to afford nutritious foods, and to stay healthy without adequate funds. I have accepted the challenge for the week of September 21 and hope you will join me. There are numerous online resources that will help you learn about the SNAP challenge that you can find with a quick web-search.  If you are considering the SNAP challenge, please reach out to me by email at

On Saturday, Oct. 10, Outreach will celebrate its inaugural Empty Bowls Fundraiser from 4-7 p.m. at Overmountain Vineyards in Tryon. Empty Bowls events have been held throughout the world for the last 25 years as a way to raise funds, friends and awareness about the plight of local hunger.

The empty bowls concept is a simple one. Join us on October 10 and enjoy sampling soups prepared by local restaurants, meet new friends and share in the fellowship of like minded individuals. Take in the scenery of Overmountain and listen to the music of Phil and Gaye Johnson. Each person who buys a full price ticket (child prices will be available), will take home a hand-crafted bowl to serve as a reminder of all of the people that face empty bowls at mealtime.

I would like to close with a great big THANK YOU to the Outreach board of directors for investing their confidence in me and to the community for their encouragement. What is most enriching about being involved here at Outreach is the sense of community. Our volunteers cheerfully staff the facility and attend special events. Our donors give generously and encourage their friends to do likewise. Our staff works tirelessly to compassionately serve the clients and operate the business. The board of directors thoughtfully engage in strategic planning, ensuring that we will be good stewards of our gifts. And the clients are grateful that all these moving parts mesh together to help them in times of crisis.

If you are not involved with Outreach in some capacity, you should be! Call Outreach’s volunteer coordinator, Barb Powell, at 828-894-2988 to volunteer today or visit us at

– Submitted by George Alley