Helping those in need in Avery County, N.C.

A Story About Making a Difference

We hear stories every day about people making a difference in a quiet and unassuming way. Those are the every-day heroes. Being leaders by demonstrating caring and compassion without looking for anything in return.

We can all make a difference, and there are so many ways. We need to keep our eyes open for the opportunities put in front of us, no matter how small, and accept every chance we have to do something good.

For those who have this inherent awareness and desire, living their values is an important part of who they are, and this story is a beautiful example of that.


RED MARBLES

I was at the corner grocery store buying some potatoes. I noticed a small boy, ragged but clean, hungrily appraising a basket of freshly picked green peas.

I paid for my potatoes but was also drawn to the display of fresh green peas. I am a pushover for creamed peas and new potatoes.

Pondering the peas, I couldn’t help overhearing the conversation between Mr. Miller, the store owner, and the ragged boy next to me.

“Hello Barry, how are you today?”
“H’lo, Mr. Miller. Fine, thank ya. Them peas sure look good!”
“They are good, Barry. How’s your Ma?”

“Fine. Gittin’ stronger alla’ time.”
“Good. Anything I can help you with?”

“No, Sir… jus’ admirin’ them peas.”
“Would you like to take some home?” asked Mr. Miller.

“No, Sir. Got nuthin’ to pay for ’em with.”
“Well, what have you to trade me for some of those peas?”
“All I got’s my prize marble here.”

“Is that right? Let me see it.” said Miller.

“Here ’tis. She’s a dandy.”

“I can see that. Hmm mmm, only thing is this one is blue and I sort of go for red. Do you have a red one like this at home?” the store owner asked.
“Not zackley but almost.”
“Tell you what. Take this sack of peas home with you and next trip this way let me look at that red marble.” Mr. Miller told the boy.
“‘Sure will. Thanks Mr. Miller.”

Mrs. Miller, who had been standing nearby, came over to help me.
With a smile she said, “There are two other boys like him in our community. All three are in very poor circumstances. Jim just loves to bargain with them for peas, apples, tomatoes, or whatever.”

“When they come back with their red marbles – and they always do – he decides he doesn’t like red after all and he sends them home with a bag of produce for a green marble or an orange one, when they come on their next trip to the store.”

I left the store smiling to myself, impressed with this man. A short time later I moved to Colorado, but I never forgot the story of this man, the boys, and their bartering for marbles.

Years went by, each more rapid than the previous one, until I recently had occasion to visit some old friends in that Idaho community. While I was there learned that Mr. Miller had died and they were having his visitation that evening. Knowing my friends wanted to go, I agreed to accompany them. Upon arrival at the mortuary we got in line to meet the relatives of the deceased and to offer whatever words of comfort we could.

Ahead of us in line were three young men. One was in an army uniform and the other two had nice haircuts, dark suits and white shirts… all were very professional looking. They approached Mrs. Miller, standing composed and smiling by her husband’s casket.

Each of the young men hugged her, kissed her on the cheek, spoke briefly with her and moved on to the casket. Her misty light blue eyes followed them as, one by one, each young man stopped briefly and placed his own warm hand over the cold pale hand in the casket. Each left the mortuary awkwardly, wiping his eyes.

Our turn came to meet Mrs. Miller. I told her who I was and reminded her of the story from those many years ago and what she had told me about her husband’s bartering for marbles. With her eyes glistening, she took my hand and led me to the casket.

“Those three young men who just left were the boys I told you about. They just told me how they appreciated the things Jim ‘traded’ them. Now, at last, when Jim could not change his mind about color or size, they came to pay their debt.”

“We’ve never had a great deal of the wealth of this world,” she confided, “but right now, Jim would consider himself the richest man in Idaho.”

With loving gentleness she lifted the lifeless fingers of her deceased husband. Resting underneath were three exquisitely shined red marbles.

The moral:
We will not be remembered by our words, but by our kind deeds. 

IT’S NOT WHAT YOU GATHER, BUT WHAT YOU SCATTER THAT TELLS WHAT KIND OF LIFE YOU HAVE LIVED!

Why We Do What We Do

Watch our new video about the mission and purpose of the High Country Charitable Foundation.

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Grants

The goal of the Foundation is to support local Avery County charitable services.

Check back for information about the 2021 grant application.

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Annual Dinner Dance Fundraiser


HCCF holds an annual Dinner Dance Fundraiser each summer at Elk River Club in Banner Elk, NC. 2021 marks our SEVENTH year serving Avery County! We look forward to many more.

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Santa’s elves could take a lesson! The elves at High Country Charitable Foundation have been busy so that as many families as possible could experience some happiness during this Christmas season.

Avery County’s elves hauled and toted heavy loads—loads of surprises for Avery residents who needed some extra cheer this year.

Gifts galore for families and kids, coordinated by elves through Reaching Avery Ministry and Avery Project Christmas. Groceries galore, collected and distributed by the elves at Feeding Avery Families. And elves with sheriff’s badges from Cops for Kids, armed with gifts, friendly smiles and very special friendships.

All of these happy activities have taken place for a number of years—but this year the elves had to repack the sleigh and route the reindeer around the COVID grinch lurking in the shadows.

The well-oiled machine that delivered Avery Project Christmas formerly brought parents into a well-stocked Christmas store, allowing them to choose gifts and wrapping for their children. This year, school counselors worked with families to create wish lists. The counselors and staff members then shopped the lists and prepared to deliver gift bags to the families.

“Imagine in your mind the smiling joy of children who might have been anxious about what would arrive at their house for Christmas,” commented Avery Project Christmas volunteer Susan Carter. “Create in your mind the faces and appreciation of parents, and grandparents serving as parents, as they feel the excitement of being able to give the children they love a few gifts from their wish list.”

Feeding Avery Families (FAF)continues to feed growing numbers of folks: 600 families or 1,500 individuals a month, plus school backpacks and in-school pantries, plus six Community Pantries.

In addition to ramping up the numbers, FAF has volunteers who deliver to families who are unable to get to the outdoor distributions. “Families and friends become lifelines, just as High Country Charitable Foundation has been, in helping us provide these special meals,” according to FAF director Dick Larson.

“How wonderful it is to be able to celebrate over a special meal together,” Larson said. “What a blessing it is to be able to help.”

Sometimes changes are especially hard on elves. “Cops for Kids,” a special creation of the Avery County Sheriff’s Office, had to postpone a great mentoring experience, in exchange for a distant substitute. In previous years, a sheriff’s officer would go shopping with a child, purchase family gifts, have lunch together, and get to know each other. This year, according to the Great Elf, Sheriff Kevin Frye, officers collected wish lists and purchased gifts—then distributed them through drive-in delivery. The mentoring or bonding between officer and child was mostly lost.

The High Country Charitable elves know that changes are hard, and COVID and its problems and prohibitions are harder. But knowing that the Avery County elves are really hard workers, improvising to make it all worthwhile—they provided the funds to keep the Christmas joy alive in many Avery County homes.

Since 2015. The High Country Charitable Foundation has awarded financial grants to local public charities and other private foundations whose mission is to provide for needy Avery County residents and animals. Selected nonprofit organizations must be appropriately recognized by the IRS. Grants are not given to individuals and other restrictions apply. For more information visit highcountryfoundation.org.

Kali Sullins picks up food for family members, a couple with two young children. “At Feeding Avery Families, we have many instances like this, where the people needing assistance aren’t able to get to our facility by themselves,” according to director Dick Larson. “Families and friends become lifelines, just as HCCF has been, in helping us provide these special meals,” he said.

Avery County Sheriff Kevin Frye (left) and Lauren Mauney of the EAC Employee Action Committee stand side-by-side as they accept the High Country Charitable Foundation grant for the 2020 Cops for Kids program.
... See MoreSee Less

Santa’s elves could take a lesson! The elves at High Country Charitable Foundation have been busy so that as many families as possible could experience some happiness during this Christmas season.

Avery County’s elves hauled and toted heavy loads—loads of surprises for Avery residents who needed some extra cheer this year.

Gifts galore for families and kids, coordinated by elves through Reaching Avery Ministry and Avery Project Christmas. Groceries galore, collected and distributed by the elves at Feeding Avery Families. And elves with sheriff’s badges from Cops for Kids, armed with gifts, friendly smiles and very special friendships.

All of these happy activities have taken place for a number of years—but this year the elves had to repack the sleigh and route the reindeer around the COVID grinch lurking in the shadows.

The well-oiled machine that delivered Avery Project Christmas formerly brought parents into a well-stocked Christmas store, allowing them to choose gifts and wrapping for their children. This year, school counselors worked with families to create wish lists. The counselors and staff members then shopped the lists and prepared to deliver gift bags to the families.

“Imagine in your mind the smiling joy of children who might have been anxious about what would arrive at their house for Christmas,” commented Avery Project Christmas volunteer Susan Carter. “Create in your mind the faces and appreciation of parents, and grandparents serving as parents, as they feel the excitement of being able to give the children they love a few gifts from their wish list.”

Feeding Avery Families (FAF)continues to feed growing numbers of folks: 600 families or 1,500 individuals a month, plus school backpacks and in-school pantries, plus six Community Pantries.

In addition to ramping up the numbers, FAF has volunteers who deliver to families who are unable to get to the outdoor distributions. “Families and friends become lifelines, just as High Country Charitable Foundation has been, in helping us provide these special meals,” according to FAF director Dick Larson.

“How wonderful it is to be able to celebrate over a special meal together,” Larson said. “What a blessing it is to be able to help.”

Sometimes changes are especially hard on elves. “Cops for Kids,” a special creation of the Avery County Sheriff’s Office, had to postpone a great mentoring experience, in exchange for a distant substitute. In previous years, a sheriff’s officer would go shopping with a child, purchase family gifts, have lunch together, and get to know each other. This year, according to the Great Elf, Sheriff Kevin Frye, officers collected wish lists and purchased gifts—then distributed them through drive-in delivery. The mentoring or bonding between officer and child was mostly lost.

The High Country Charitable elves know that changes are hard, and COVID and its problems and prohibitions are harder. But knowing that the Avery County elves are really hard workers, improvising to make it all worthwhile—they provided the funds to keep the Christmas joy alive in many Avery County homes.

Since 2015. The High Country Charitable Foundation has awarded financial grants to local public charities and other private foundations whose mission is to provide for needy Avery County residents and animals. Selected nonprofit organizations must be appropriately recognized by the IRS. Grants are not given to individuals and other restrictions apply. For more information visit highcountryfoundation.org.

Kali Sullins picks up food for family members, a couple with two young children. “At Feeding Avery Families, we have many instances like this, where the people needing assistance aren’t able to get to our facility by themselves,” according to director Dick Larson. “Families and friends become lifelines, just as HCCF has been, in helping us provide these special meals,” he said.

Avery County Sheriff Kevin Frye (left) and Lauren Mauney of the EAC Employee Action Committee stand side-by-side as they accept the High Country Charitable Foundation grant for the 2020 Cops for Kids program.Image attachmentImage attachment

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I am honored to be on the Board of this caring organization. Most of live elsewhere in the winter, but appreciate our summer neighbors and all they do. We are proud to give back to you and wish you Merry Christmas and a much better New Year.

Executive Director Tina Krause of Hospitality House displays the 2020 grant from the High Country Charitable Foundation.

"Hospitality House of Northwest North Carolina is grateful to receive this grant from the High Country Charitable Foundation.

Last year, Hospitality House provided 2,739 (out of a total 39,754) nights of shelter services to 35 Avery County individuals for a total cost of $87,658 at an average of $32.00 per day.

As the largest contributor from Avery County, the HCCF grant accounts for 11% of the total needed to house and support Avery County residents.

The continued support of HCCF will allow us to continue safely and stably housing homeless individuals and families in Avery County."

--
Todd Carter
... See MoreSee Less

Executive Director Tina Krause of Hospitality House displays the 2020 grant from the High Country Charitable Foundation.

Hospitality House of Northwest North Carolina is grateful to receive this grant from the High Country Charitable Foundation. 

Last year, Hospitality House provided 2,739 (out of a total 39,754) nights of shelter services to 35 Avery County individuals for a total cost of $87,658 at an average of $32.00 per day. 

As the largest contributor from Avery County, the HCCF grant accounts for 11% of the total needed to house and support Avery County residents. 

The continued support of HCCF will allow us to continue safely and stably housing homeless individuals and families in Avery County.

--
Todd Carter
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