BOONE — During the fourth annual High Country United Way appreciation breakfast, attendees from partnering agencies each announced their organization’s greatest accomplishments in the last year.

Agencies receiving funding from HCUW in 2019-20 were invited to attend the awards breakfast — sponsored by Lifestore Bank, Publix and Reid’s Catering. Attendees gathered at The Beacon on Sept. 17 for the event.

One at a time, representatives from community agencies mentioned highlights for their organization from the past year. HCUW Executive Director Marti Phillips said the work of the organization is made possible through the efforts of the partner agencies and their services, and the annual appreciation breakfast is one of the ways HCUW expresses gratitude for all of what the agencies do.

“We are here to celebrate you as community partners and all of the work that you have accomplished,” Phillips said. “From providing community members with stable housing to building houses. From providing preventive medical care to treating illness. From providing a form of child care to educating our children. This is such a remarkable community. You all are doing incredible work. It is our privilege as United Way to work with you all as partners.”

HCUW officials geared the event toward allowing partner agencies to chat and network with each other. Kate Gavenus, a HCUW board member, said it was important for the partner agencies to interact and talk about the needs in the community and what each of them do to fulfill those needs.

“The wealth of information that you all have and share with each other is what United Way is based upon,” Gavenus said.

The total amount of funding given out to approximately 29 agencies for 2019-20 is $134,127. Grants are funded by private donations, business/employee donations and foundation grants.

The grants are divided into four categories: health, education, financial security and basic needs.

In the health category, the following agencies were awarded funding for their programs: Community Care Clinic (Reducing Barriers for Uninsured), Mediation and Restorative Justice Center(Avery and Watauga Drug Court), OASIS (Legal Remedies for Victims), Williams YMCA of Avery County (Chronic Disease and Prevention), F.A.R.M. Café (FARM Full Circle), Western Youth Network (After School Leadership Academy), WAMY Community Action ( Mountain Adventures Camp) and The Center for Rural Health Innovation (Tipton Hill Clinic).

The following agencies were awarded funding in the education category: Avery County Schools (Blue Ridge Student Academy), Appalachian State University (Foster Grandparents), Blue Ridge Partnership for Children (Scottie Bus as well as Play and Learn), Children’s Council (Raising a Reader and Family Literacy), Watauga Habitat for Humanity (Family Support), Western Youth Network (Youth Mentoring), Mountain Alliance (School’s Out Watauga as well as Character and Leadership Development) and Mitchell County Cooperative Extension (4-H Summer Fun Program).

For the financial stability section, the following agencies were awarded funding: Avery Habitat for Humanity (Family Support Program), Hospitality House (RISE of the High Country and WeCan), WAMY Community Action (Total Family Development), Yellow Mountain Enterprises and Blue Ridge Opportunity Commission (Family Self Sufficiency Program).

Receiving funding for the basic needs category are the following agencies: Hunger and Health Coalition (Fresh Market and Free Pharmacy), Mediation and Restorative Justice Center (Mediation Services), OASIS (Emergency Shelter), South Mountain Children and Family Services (Therapy Transportation), Spirit Ride (Equine Therapy), Sugar Grove Developmental Day School (Tuition Support), Volunteer Avery (Food Bank), Yellow Mountain (Group Home Basic Needs), Watauga County Schools (Extended Learning Center), Appalachian State University (Parent to Parent), Safe Place (Emergency Shelter) and Shepherd’s Staff (Food and Utility Assistance).

Applications for the 2020-21 funding cycle will open in spring of 2020. For more information, visit

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