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WAMY’s Second Annual Winter Gala Raises Funds

by Madison V. Fisler

Dec. 10, 2013.  On Saturday, Dec. 7, WAMY Community Action hosted their second annual Winter Gala at the Foscoe Grandfather Community Center, part of the Grandfather Campground. The free event took place from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and featured a lunch provided by Farm Cafe, a live auction led by Jenny Miller of Blowing Rock and client testimonials to explain what WAMY does for the community.

The live auction included items that were locally donated, and were auctioned off to benefit WAMY’s many programs. 

Items included in the auction included handmade quilts, baskets (gardening, wine, Italian, Family Game Night, pets, etc.), tickets to several area attractions and much more. 

With the Winter Gala this year, WAMY was able to raise more than their $5,000 goal, however, an exact number has yet to be determined.

“We don’t have an exact total, but my goal was $5,000 and we went over that,” said Melissa Soto, executive director of WAMY. 

“It was incredible. We had a great turnout of around 75 people there. We had a couple speakers back out at the last minute, but some people from the audience shared their stories with us. Last year we only had one speaker and this year we had several. It really showcased the things we do for our community.”

Ribbon flowers were also given out in memory of Marnie Worth, a treasured employee of WAMY for more than 20 years who passed away two years ago from cancer.

“When she passed away, we started a fund in her name,” said Soto.

“She was a gardener and lover of the elderly. Everything we make from those flowers goes into the gardens and our programs for the elderly for seeds, plants and supplies. At this event, we were giving them out to raise awareness.”

After such massive growth from last year’s event, which didn’t quite raise $2,000, the WAMY staff hopes that it will become the signature fundraiser for the organization.

“We really hope it keeps getting bigger and bigger every year.”

If you would like to help WAMY, it’s simple. You can just stop by The Unique Boutique behind Mike’s Seafood in Boone. All money that the thrift store makes goes right back into the WAMY programs. 

In 1964 twelve concerned citizens formed a steering committee to seek help in the struggle against poverty in Watauga, Avery, Mitchell, and Yancey counties. They applied for assistance from the NC Fund and were approved as one of the seven original project areas to receive funding. W.A.M.Y. was chartered as a private 501-c3 nonprofit agency in 1964 through Economic Opportunity Act, in conjunction with President Johnson’s War on Poverty, and with assistance from the NC Fund and Office of Economic Opportunity.

W.A.M.Y.’s founding mission is “to promote individual and family self-sufficiency in order to alleviate poverty at the root level and to enhance the quality of life for the residents of Watauga, Avery, Mitchell, and Yancey counties.”. WAMY currently assists those in need through their many programs, including Avery YO!, ComfortPros, financial literacy, gardening programs, micro loan programs, self sufficiency programs and weatherization programs including H.A.R.R.P. 

Check out our photos from the second annual Winter Gala.

Photos by Ken Ketchie