Saluda Pop-Up Pantry introduces new pantry coordinator

Published 12:25 pm Monday, November 13, 2023

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The Saluda Pop-Up Pantry recently announced the hiring of a new pantry coordinator, Kerri Jackson Pelz.

Pelz, a native of Henderson County who has lived in western North Carolina most of her life, has spent the last five years working within the Asheville homeless community; first as a staff member at the Haywood Street Congregation and most recently as a Housing Case Manager with Homeward Bound.  

“I applied for and accepted the pantry coordinator position not knowing exactly what to expect. I’ve learned very quickly that although the Pantry is small there’s a lot to be done, both at the distribution site and behind the scenes,” says Pelz. “It’s amazing to me that, prior to my hiring, this organization had been run solely by devoted volunteers, some who spend the equivalent of full-time hours serving this community.”  

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According to the US Census Bureau, there’s been a 45% increase in food insecurity over the past two years, and western North Carolina has been hit particularly hard due to expansive growth and the corresponding rise in the cost of living. The Saluda Pop-Up Pantry, founded in July 2019 as an initiative of the Outreach Committee of the Saluda Church of the Transfiguration, works in partnership with MANNA Foodbank and local farmers to fill an essential gap in easing food insecurity by providing free, supplemental food to families in both Polk and Henderson counties.  

“A food pantry doesn’t just distribute food. We share news with neighbors, watch babies while parents shop, inquire about health challenges, offer coats to the cold and flower bouquets to cheer homes,” Pelz says. “We know our shoppers by name, we ask about their children, their grandchildren, their pets. We know who works late and who needs to shop for someone else because they’re homebound and can’t get to the Pantry.”

For more information about volunteering at or donating to the Saluda Pop-Up Pantry, email Pelz at, follow the organization on Facebook or Instagram or visit


Submitted by Teresa Wilkinson