The Ashe County Sharing Center started in 1984 with a group of concerned citizens who wanted to share what they had with neighbors in need and make our little part of the world a better place for everyone who lives here. The LIVE TO SHARE ANOTHER DAY project lines right up with that original concept. First an anonymous party said, “I have extra fabric I will donate (for people to make masks).” Then someone else said, “My shop can be the drop off point for everything that is donated.” A Facebook post on social media sparked a fire within the community – and soon there was a small army of folks making masks and donating items to this cause! Our goal was to provide 1000 packets with items like masks, soap, hand sanitizer, and gloves. Together in just 10 days we surpassed the goal! The idea was to make sure folks had what they needed to be safe and (perhaps most importantly) that they know someone cares. The packets have been distributed through the Ashe County Sharing Center which operates seven food pantry programs in our county.
The art of sewing escapes me…but thankfully others happily shared their talents! The background stories are incredible: a retired teacher who moved to another town after the tragic death of her husband making masks and mailing them back to Ashe, another dear lady (with health problems of her own and while caring for a very ill husband) devoting her time to make 150 masks, a board member’s mother while home “socially isolating” and making 100 + masks, and many others who simply know how to sew, care about neighbors, and acted. Each mask was unique and lovingly created. A note was attached to one set that read, “May God continue to protect you & keep you safe through the storm”! Yes…..our common prayer!
My goodness….the list of folks who have contributed to this project is long and incomplete. The packets included some or parts of several items, so there were opportunities for involvement even if you couldn’t sew – lol! Soap (just to encourage hand-washing), disposable gloves, zip-lock bags, and the “liquid gold”… hand sanitizer! Interesting side story – we had gallons of hand sanitizer donated, but it is virtually impossible to get smaller containers to put it in. Some containers were donated, but the majority came from Jimmy Hendricks & Travis Perkins – small vials and the lids for them were donated by Michael Vannoy. Together we were able to make it happen! Graham Caddell was quick to contact me and offer to help publicize the project – it made a big difference in getting information out there! Sherriff Howell also sent a message offering to help in any way! Sherriff Howell and family (wife Amanda and their adorable daughters) and Chief Deputy Danny Houck (wife Kristy – endearingly called “Oma” by their daughter Jesi Ann who also helped) each took packets of materials home and worked on them together Mother’s Day Weekend as a family project! Lauren Brown (A Designer’s Touch by Lauren) is new to our community, but eagerly excited to be involved ….she also assembled packets! I will list all the participants I know, but there are MANY others who helped make this happen – forgive any oversights, please: Lisa Turnmyre, Evelyn Bulow, Betty Phipps, Betty Eller, Mannon Eldreth, Maude Shatley, Ken & Renae Bumgarner at Twin Creeks / Southern Market, Martha Brown, Retha Taylor, Phyllis Furches, Jessica Hamilton, Joyce Kilby, Hele Marie Reavis, Gary Lee, Jenny Johnson, John Tomco, Melissa Vannoy, Michelle Davis, and Jerry Weaver.
I believe everyone agrees with the statement shared by one, “I am not doing this for my own gratification (I just wanted to help)”. God bless the hands that give and the hands that receive. We are all in this together. It is an honor call Ashe County home.