Dec. 11, 2013. Two annual events that support the Hospitality House broke records this year in efforts to fight hunger in the High Country. The third annual ASU Hunger Games and the third annual High Country Turkey Trot together collected more than 3,400 pounds of food and raised more than $23,000.
An event sponsored by ASU’s Appalachian and the Community Together (ACT) for Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, The Hunger Games, based on the popular book series, are designed to raise awareness about hunger here in Watauga County and collect desperately needed food for the Hospitality House.
For three weeks, students collect cans to be 1 of 24 chosen to compete in the games. On the day of the games, audience members are encouraged to donate cans to purchase a life for their favorite competitor. Doubling the goal of 1,500 cans, this is also the largest food drive donation at the Hospitality House to date. Equaling to 2,900 pounds of food, the cans were dropped off the following Monday.
“I would just like to say that this year’s Hunger Games had a lot of skilled tributes who gave it their all. There was a lot of healthy competitive spirit and I think some friendships were formed on the field,” said creator Chris Criqui.
“I’m so thankful that so many people were willing to fight hunger and have fun while doing it. I’m blessed to have such a talented and hard working committee to work with me and I hope this event continues and grows after I graduate.”
On Thanksgiving Day, more than 550 pounds of food were added to the Hospitality House pantry as runners and walkers from all over came out to brave the cold weather at the third annual High Country Turkey Trot. Over 750 participants registered for the event, making it the largest 5K in the High Country.
The competitive 5K timed run had runners and walkers from 22 states, 58 unique North Carolina towns and cities and two foreign countries. Hearts of Hospitality, the ambassador group for Hospitality House, organized the event with 100 percent of proceeds benefitting men, women and children living in crisis, poverty and homelessness.
This year more than $23,000 was raised for the organization.
“Even though the weather kept onsite registration lower than we anticipated, we still had a tremendous turn out and raised even more money and food than ever before,” said director of development Todd Carter.
With a 26 percent poverty rate in the region and temperatures dropping, donations and support are needed more than ever. The Bread of Life Community Kitchen served three meals a day, 365 days a year and the food box program fed 6,000 people last year.
“We are currently averaging 40 food boxes a day here at the Hospitality House and these donations will help us serve those families in need and keep food on their tables,” said Hospitality House Project Manager Brittany Johnson.
“We are so grateful for our community who continues to make a difference by joining us in the fight against poverty and hunger.”
The Hospitality House is a nonprofit crisis agency serving seven counties in northwestern North Carolina helping those in crisis, poverty and homelessness rebuild their lives.