ASHEVILLE – The WNC Honors Awards is built on a 70-year tradition of recognizing rural community development clubs for their innovative ideas and grassroots solutions. These centers and clubs are the backbone running through our beloved mountains. The culmination of this year’s program occurred at a luncheon held recently with 250 community leaders from 13 western North Carolina Counties and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.
The Big Y Community received a Communities of Promise Award of $1,000. The recipients are chosen because of the initiatives implemented by the community that show promise and can be replicated around the region.
Big Y was honored for their efforts in outreach to their community. Big Y tried a new fundraiser this year; their traditional dinner of Rainbows and Ramps was so successful that they ran out of ramps in just one hour! The crowd was lined up before they even started selling. Next year. they will be prepared for the response and will be able to raise even more money. They say the best part was the ramp gathering day as it was a fun group activity and the youth learned about ramps. One of Big Y’s favorite activities for the year is their Veterans’ breakfast that provides a free breakfast for any veterans, and local youth write thank you notes to the veterans for their service and the notes are read aloud at the breakfast. Big Y also offers several cultural classes including quilting, sewing skirts and traditional pottery. Their Free Labor group makes sure wood is available for those needing heating assistance, and they plowed 53 gardens this year.
Engaged Communities receive a cash award of $500 and are involved in numerous programs impacting their residents. The Birdtown, Big Cove, and Wolftown Communities received this honor.
Participating Communities receive a cash award of $250 each for their successful projects implemented during the past year. Snowbird, Tow String and Cherokee County Indian communities received this designation for the year.
The 65 communities participating in this year’s program made a $6 million investment of time, talent, money and effort in western North Carolina Communities. Their fundraising efforts brought in $950,000 with more than 5,5000 volunteers investing an impressive 195,500 hours of their time in outreach programs dedicated to conservation, education, beautification, health, wellness, and economic development.
Generous sponsorships from Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort, Harrah’s Valley River Casino & Hotel, Biltmore Farms, Inc., Duke Energy, The McClure Fund, First Citizens Bank, Buncombe County Farm Bureau, Carolina Farm Credit and Wells Fargo brought in $37,500 to award to the 65 community centers and clubs participating in the 2019 WNC Honors Awards.
– WNC Communities release