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30 Years of Hearts of Hospitality House – A Journey of Compassion and Community

A celebration luncheon honoring the 30 year anniversary of Hearts of Hospitality House, the ladies ambassador organization for Hospitality House of Northwest N.C., will be held on Wednesday, June 19 at 11:30 a.m. at Holy Cross Episcopal Church in Valle Crucis. The luncheon is dedicated to all the women who have been a part of and supported Hearts since its inception. 

Kay Borkowski and her husband Frank moved to Boone in the fall of 1993 when Frank was named Chancellor at Appalachian State University. Prior to moving to Boone, Kay had been active with Metropolitan Ministries of Tampa, Florida, serving those in need in Tampa. Within a few short months, Kay was on the board of directors for Hospitality House and the LAMPLighters auxiliary of Metropolitan Ministries came to mind. Within a month, Kay gathered a group of women at the chancellor’s house to discuss the possibility of forming a similar group to aid Hospitality House.

Out of that meeting grew Hearts of Hospitality House. By the end of the next meeting there were thirty members, a full slate of officers and approved bylaws. With leadership from Laurie Watson and a devoted group of like-minded women, the organization immediately began discussing fundraising ideas to ensure service to those in need. 

By 1994, a holiday ball was planned and held a few weeks before Christmas. The semi-formal event, featuring dining, dancing and silent auction, continued successfully for the next twelve years. In 2006, to capitalize on their name, Hearts members opted to change to a Valentine’s event and introduced the “Hearts Ball.” This new event, featuring a Dancing with the Stars competition and sweetheart auction of romance packages, ran until 2010.

​For fifteen years, Hearts of Hospitality House served as the sole fundraising entity for Hospitality House, the regional nonprofit housing and homeless services agency that works in seven rural North Carolina counties providing housing, shelter, food access, homeless prevention, street outreach, counseling, medical care, and crisis assistance. If the house needed furniture, summon Hearts. If the refrigerator stopped working, call Hearts. When a client moved out and needed housewares, reach out to Hearts.

When asked what moved her to create such a group Borkowski replied, “I have been truly blessed in my life and this is a means to give back to my community. It breaks my heart to see people who have lost it all for whatever reason it may be.”

Since 2011, Hearts of Hospitality House has worked in tandem with Chief Development Director Todd Carter to host a variety of fundraisers including fashion shows, golf tournaments, cookbooks, online auctions and the annual High Country Turkey Trot. Additionally, they provide the Bread of Life Community Kitchen dinner meal every fifth Friday, host birthday parties for children, provide a monthly lunch to Hospitality House staff, and put together Holiday Gift Baskets for each staff member. 

This past year they launched their most ambitious project, Fresh Start. This new program provides essential housing amenities, from dishes to towels to sheets to microwaves, to individuals and families who are moving out of homelessness but face entering housing with little more than the clothes they wear. 

For over three decades, this remarkable group has been a beacon of hope and support for the High Country’s most vulnerable population. 

“I honestly don’t know where our agency would be without Hearts of Hospitality House,” stated Carter. “I can only imagine those early years where these ladies used lots of hard work and steady prayer to keep Hospitality House afloat.” 

Looking back through the years and this milestone anniversary, current Hearts leadership extends its gratitude to everyone who has played a part in the success of Hearts of Hospitality House. They would also like to recognize local faith community leaders from Grace Lutheran, Boone United Methodist, First Baptist, First Presbyterian, St. Luke’s Episcopal, The Boone Jewish Community and St. Elizabth of the Hill Country for forming the Boone Coalition of Churches and caring for those experiencing homelessness in the late 1970’s and eventually founding Hospitality House back in 1984. 

Reflecting on the journey, at the first meeting of this year, current Hearts president Julie Truman remarked, “They may not know your name but they do know that you have a heart.” This keeps the legacy of Hearts alive, continuously thriving, inspiring future generations to carry on the mission of Hearts of Hospitality House.” 

All former, current and future members are invited to attend the luncheon on June 19 to celebrate 30 years of Hearts of Hospitality, a journey of compassion, community and unwavering support. 

Please RSVP via email to Rose Bridgeman at rosellab@charter.net or Carter at todd@hosphouse.org 

For the latest updates and to learn more about Heats of Hospitality House and Hospitality House visit www.HospHouse.org and follow them on Facebook, Instagram and TikTok: @hosphouse and X @HospHouseNWNC.