From January 11 through February 12, the amazing staff at Watauga County Parks and Recreation invited Watauga county residents to make donations for Hospitality House, Hunger and Health Coalition and Casting Bread.

After the money was counted and all boxes and cans were weighed, the community raised $1,250
and 1,875 pounds of food.

Watauga County Parks and Recreation is in the business of helping and supporting the community. Because of the pandemic, the Community Recreation Center has been closed since construction was completed. Currently, it is used as a site to distribute vaccinations.

“Around the first of the year, we asked ourselves how we could help Watauga County,” explained Director Stephen Poulos. “The idea of a food drive came up and we ran with it.”

Representatives from Hunger and Health Coalition, Hospitality House, and Casting Bread met with the Poulos and other Parks and Recreation leaders on Monday, February 15 to pick up the donations and tour the new facility.

“Throughout this pandemic, we have continued to see new families struggling to make ends meet,” reported Elizabeth Young, Executive Director at Hunger and Health Coalition. “This food drive makes a real and palpable difference in ensuring that our community can meet their most basic of needs. Thank you, thank you, thank you!”

"We are grateful to everyone who donated to this inaugural, county-wide Food for Friends drive,” stated Todd Carter, Director of Development for Hospitality House. “Collaborating with our fellow Second Harvest Food Bank partner agencies and the new state-of-the-art Watauga County Community Recreation Center aligns perfectly with our collective goal to not just provide food to folks in need but promote health and wellness to the entire community.”

“It is inspiring when we receive such generous support from our community,” reflected Casting Bread’s Executive Director Sam Garrett. “The Food for Friends drive will support so many families in the High Country and the recreation center is perfect for anyone who wants to get or stay healthy. The collaboration is a perfect match.” Adds Garrett, “Selfishly, I cannot wait for it to open so I can enjoy the pool, equipment, track and, of course, the basketball court.”

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In the photo: Stephen Poulos, Director, Keron Poteat, Recreation Specialist II and Amy Parsons, Program Assistant, all from Watauga County Parks and Recreation; Elizabeth Young, Executive Director for Hunger and Health Coalition, Todd Carter, Director of Development for Hospitality House and Sam Garrett, Executive Director for Casting Bread.