‘Do Not Lose Hope’

Published 8:00 am Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Free food offered during Tryon Christmas parade Wednesday

TRYON — For the second year in a row, residents attending the Tryon Christmas parade can pick up a free meal, and some will get a free T-shirt and painting by a local artist.

The Do Not Lose Hope movement is continuing this year with free hot dogs, hamburgers, slaw, chili and vegetarian options from 5-7 p.m. Wednesday in the parking lot next to the Shops of Tryon downtown.

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“The effort is to remind folks that they should never feel alone, as we are a community that cares about one another,” said organizer Mary Prioleau. “The holidays are the hardest and most stressful times for those with depression. There should be no stigma. We all support one another.”

The event will coincide with the annual parade, which normally begins right at dark after 5 p.m.

The Tryon Fire Department coordinates the annual parade, which draws hundreds to downtown.

The Do Not Lose Hope event will also include 80 free long- sleeved T-shirts in response to Prioleau’s birthday fundraiser on Facebook this year, where she asked for donations to Polk Fit, Fresh & Friendly in support of this year’s event.

Prioleau conducted a fundraiser for her birthday in September to raise money for the event, which garnered $965 from the community.

The shirts will be available in youth and adult sizes.

Local artist Martin will also be giving away more than 50 paintings to people who attend the event.

Brad Whitney and friends will cook the hot dogs and hamburgers on-site.

The town of Tryon, Tryon Downtown Development Association and Thermal Belt Friendship Council are providing the free food.

Last year’s event drew hundreds, who gathered, ate and enjoyed one another’s company before and after the parade.