Seeing that COVID-19 has had a huge impact on local families suffering from food insecurity, WAMY Community Action partnered with local grocery stores to provide Thanksgiving meals to families enrolled in the agency’s programs.

WAMY — a local nonprofit serving Watauga, Avery, Mitchell and Yancey counties — strives to break the cycle of poverty for those in the communities it serves. Through WAMY’s 56 years of serving these counties the organization has offered many programs, but this year was a first for Thanksgiving meals.

During the week of Nov. 16, WAMY partnered with Ricochet Creative Productions LLC, Publix, Grow Watauga, Performance Foods, Food Lion, Harris Teeter and several anonymous donors to provide meals to families. Approximately 115 meals were packed and delivered to families across the agency’s four-county service area.

“These meals not only brought nourishment to these families for the holidays, but also gave them a sense of relief since they no longer had to worry about the days ahead,” WAMY stated. “Each family was incredibly grateful to receive this blessing.”

WAMY Youth Development Director Emily Neff said the meals were delivered to families of all sizes, from a couple of seniors in the agency’s housing program to a family of nine with seven children. Many of the families they served that had two parents working full time before the pandemic, now only have one or both parents working part-time to provide childcare while students remote learn.

A great grandmother raising two grandchildren said that the meal was unexpected, and that receiving the meal would help them save money on groceries, Neff said. She added that a mom of two was grateful for the meal as the mom said her family wasn’t sure how they’d afford a turkey this year since she’s out of work three days a week to stay home with her children.

Families were given frozen turkeys, frozen pumpkin pies and side items such as cranberry sauce, gravy, stuffing mix and potatoes. Schools in Avery and Watauga counties helped to store the frozen turkeys for the agency, Neff said. Ricochet Creative Productions LLC and Publix were the biggest contributors to the meal project, Neff said.

Neff added that the cost to provide the materials for Thanksgiving meals was about $6,000. All food items were either donated or the cost was covered by anonymous donors or gift cards.

Food Lion was able to provide gift cards that WAMY used to purchase food items through its Food lion Feeds program; more information about the program can be found at

Neff urged families to use local food resources if they are in need to feed themselves and their children. She added that families can contact WAMY for assistance at (828) 264-2421. More information about WAMY can be found at

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