By Nathan Ham
In these uncertain times, families are looking for the best ways to feed everyone in their household. For some, that may mean trips to area food banks and community support organizations. For others, it may be using the High Country Food Hub at the Agriculture Conference Center in downtown Boone to get some fresh farm-to-table food.
For families in need, Boone United Methodist Church is offering hot meals and food boxes from 5-6:30 p.m. on Thursdays. Mount Vernon Baptist Church is offering food boxes from 4-5:30 p.m. on Tuesdays. FaithBridge United Methodist is providing hot meals to go from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Food boxes are available for pickup on Thursdays from 10:30 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Thursdays. Families can pick up food boxes twice a month at FaithBridge. High Country United Church of Christ is offering food boxes from 10:30 a.m. until 1 p.m. on Mondays and from 5:15-7 p.m. on Saturdays. TheHeart Church is putting together food boxes on Wednesdays from 1-4 p.m. and The Rock Church is providing food boxes from 5-7 p.m. on Wednesdays and Sundays.
The Watauga County School system has put together its own food program for K-12 students in need.
“Last week, we also began our meal distribution program at seven sites across the county. We are serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner to any child in Watauga County age 18 and under. Anyone can come to any of the sites to pick up a meal while we are closed to students,” said Garrett Price, Director of Communications for Watauga County Schools.
Meals can be picked up at Hardin Park School, Brushy Fork Baptist Church, Bethel School, Mabel School, Green Valley School, Valle Crucis School, and Watauga High School.
While food orders are the High Country Food Hub may not be free, they have a lot of variety to offer. The food hub functions as an online farmers’ market. You create an account, browse for the foods and products you want, pay for them and then pick them up at the High Country Food Hub located at 252 Poplar Grove Road.
“The online market closes at midnight on Monday so you from Thursday at noon until Monday at midnight to order and then you come to pick your order up on Wednesday from 11:30 a.m. until 6 p.m.,” said Liz Whiteman, who has been serving as the operations manager for two months.
Whiteman says that their sales have increased exponentially every week. Since so many restaurants have closed or drastically cut back their operations, having the general public pick up the slack by putting in lots of orders has made a big difference.
“It’s unfortunate that it has taken something like this to get the food hub to booming. We’re really excited that we can keep thousands of dollars in the community for farmers that were depending on restaurant orders,” Whiteman said.
You can visit High Country Food Hub’s website here: highcountryfoodhub.org
Photos were taken Wednesday afternoon as people came to pick up their orders.