Interfaith Assistance Ministry, the largest provider of crisis services to Henderson County residents, will begin accepting turkeys, hams and holiday foods for its second Holiday Food Drive on Monday.
Last year, IAM provided holiday meals to over 441 children and adults who needed crisis assistance during the holiday season.
While traditionally thought of as joyful, holidays are a difficult time for many who are struggling to make ends meet. They have to choose between providing a holiday meal or paying their rent, keeping the power on or putting gas in their car.
Executive Director Elizabeth Willson Moss said the organization encourages residents to consider hosting a turkey and ham drive or a holiday food drive at churches or synagogues, offices, civic clubs, schools or neighborhoods.
"Holidays are hard when you are barely surviving and constantly struggling to pay for the basics - food, rent, utilities, transportation, medicine, clothing - or are homeless,” Moss said. “IAM’s goal is to provide every family or adult who seeks assistance during November or December with a complete holiday meal they can eat at home. We hope to take some of the financial stress out of the holidays for our local neighbors who are struggling.”
So far this year, IAM has assisted more than 1,800 more Henderson County residents than last year, Moss said. In 2017, IAM provided services to more than 9,500 children and adults.
IAM needs donations of 6- to 10-pound hams and 10- to 15-pound turkeys as well as the side dishes to complete the meal, such as stuffing mix, gravy mix or canned gravy, sweet potatoes or yams, canned fruits, canned green beans and other vegetables, cranberry sauce, cake mix, icing and pie filling.
Bring donations to IAM at 310 Freeman Snt. in Hendersonville, near Blue Ridge Mall, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Pickups for donations can be arranged by calling Interfaith at 828-697-7029.
Donations will be accepted from Oct. 15 until Dec. 21. Contributions can also be mailed to IAM to purchase holiday food items at P.O. Box 2562, Hendersonville, NC 28793. Financial donations can also be made via IAM’s website at www.iam-hc.org. All donations are tax deductible.
Holiday meals can be picked up beginning Nov. 5. The last day to pick up a Thanksgiving meal is Nov. 21 and the last day to pick up a Christmas meal is Dec. 22.
Interfaith Assistance Ministry has been providing crisis services including food, clothing, help with heating, utilities, rent and other basic needs to county residents since 1984. Donations of new children’s shoes, socks and underwear and new or gently used linens are always needed.
For more information about IAM, call 828-697-7029 or visit iam-hc.org.