Thermal Belt Outreach Ministry: Polk steps up to help those in need

Published 4:50 pm Thursday, December 7, 2017

While our society appears to be coming apart at the seams nationally and internationally, we have some good news to report locally. The Outreach Holiday Program and area residents have a long history of helping to bring people together to spread some holiday cheer.

For Thanksgiving, we distribute turkeys and hams from our pantry and supplement with supermarket gift cards so that clients can celebrate the holiday in their homes with their family traditions. To beef up our pantry distribution, Element Strength and Fitness donated 500 pounds of whole turkeys while Tryon Mountain Hardware, the PCHS Interact Club, Boy Scout Troop 150, and many local churches all held food drives. CooperRiis donated beautiful, fresh greens and even Foothills Humane Society gave extra pet food to make sure our furry friends got in on the act!

We are now engaged in the Angel Tree gift program, where we distribute clients’ gift wishes to area residents who shop for kids and seniors. Then they bring their presents to the gift distribution at the Green Creek Community Center on Friday, December 8. Families go home with a bag of wrapped gifts for their kids to open on Christmas morning and seniors receive gift cards to area businesses.

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Many churches and businesses have helped to distribute the angels and the Polk County Toy Run contributed 58 bags of toys and raised more than $18,000 for local agencies. The Polk County Community Foundation also provided Seasonal Assistance grants to area nonprofits. Numerous volunteers and donors have contributed their time and money to these events, so that all families can experience the holiday joy that we all have come to love.

It is humbling to see area residents from all walks of life take the time to help families that may not have the resources to purchase gifts. Congratulations Polk County, give yourselves a hug and know that we done good!

Outreach is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide compassionate assistance to Polk County residents who are unable to provide for their basic life needs.  For more information on Outreach, please visit or call 828-894-2988.