December 18, 2008
Lees-McRae stocks the shelves at RAM's Emergency Food Pantry

Lees-McRae College lends a helping hand to families in need in Avery County during the holiday season with the annual canned food drive. Last week the College donated 4,600 food items to the Reaching Avery Ministry (RAM) Emergency Food Pantry in Newland.

Tabatha Nelson, office assistant at RAM, calls Lees-McRae's donation a blessing. "Without local donors like Lees-McRae, we couldn't operate."

She explained that local churches, schools and individuals in the community keep the doors open at RAM. Generous donations throughout the year allow RAM to help hundreds of families in need right here in Avery County.

With a suffering economy and many people out of work, there is a great need for donations this year. The food pantry is always in need of non-perishable food items including peanut butter, canned tuna, macaroni and cheese, spaghetti noodles and sauce, hot and cold cereals, canned fruit, dried pinto beans, canned vegetables and canned soups.

With Lees-McRae's donation, Nelson says the food should carry RAM through the winter. However, they can always use more. Monetary donations also allow RAM to purchase food through Manna Food Bank.

"We're thankful to have RAM and its emergency services in Avery County to assist families in need," said Rev. Kathy Campbell, College Chaplain and organizer of the food drive. "Always the next step is to find out why people are hungry and what we can do to help families before they reach times of crisis."

Lees-McRae has been having a food drive for over a decade now. In recent years, the food drive has grown larger and is the campus's largest fall service project with donation numbers in the 4,000 to 5,000 range.

"We're grateful to have the opportunity to assist RAM in their service to Avery County, and we hope to inspire other businesses, churches, groups and individuals to do the same," said Rev. Campbell.

After opening its doors in 1982 as a thrift shop, RAM has grown over the years and moved into its current facility on New Vale Road in Newland in 2004. Providing food in emergency situations remains a primary goal for RAM. However, thrift shop sales help provide funds for particular cases of need, including assistance with mortgage and rent payments, electricity and fuel oil bills, and temporary housing for needy transients and burn-out victims.

For more information or for help, call 733-5095.

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Blaine Hansen  |  Vice President of Strategic Planning and Effectiveness
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