BANNER ELK — High Country Charitable Foundation, which collected $630,000 to donate to local charities that benefit Avery County earlier this year, distributed its annual grants at another, more casual affair at Elk River Club on Sept. 26.

The mostly standing event had some light refreshments on offer while the grants were given out to the recipients, which made up most of the attendees. The program opened with comments from the foundation’s chairman, Jim Ward.

Organizations who are benefited by HCCF all directly serve Avery County. As each organization received their grants, representatives briefly told the crowd what their organizations do and how the funds would benefit them.

Feeding Avery Families, a local nonprofit that distributes hundreds of thousands of pounds of food a year, will be using the grant funding to help build community pantries that will be free and open to the public.

Yellow Mountain Enterprises, which provides employment and other services to people with special needs, will be using the grant funding to purchase a new box truck to move product at the charity’s thrift store.

Crossnore School and Children’s Home offers a Youth in Transition program to provide services to 21-to 26-year olds which includes courses to help young adults survive on their own and some financial assistance as well. The program is entirely funded by private funds.

WAMY provides after-school services in all of the schools in Avery County, which is free for parents. Some students who need the tutoring provided by the program the most in order to perform at grade level were not always able to get rides home. HCCF provided a van to allow WAMY to shuttle students in need from after-school programs.

Avery County Humane Society used the assistance it received last year to purchase commercial laundry equipment able to support the large amount of laundry the shelter has to manage. This year the funding will be used to renovate the “cat condos” at the humane society.

The Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation will be partnering with Avery County Schools to teach the program Wild Watch to first graders, which teaches about specific animals and connects them to conservation.

The foundation gave out 26 grants this year. HCCF does not disclose the amount of each grant.

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