Progress Updates – March, 2013

Healthy Living Progress Update

Spring is just around the corner!  We hope you are as excited as we are for the days to get warmer again!

   Today, on Friday, March 8th, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., there is  a Garden Work Day at the Hillcrest Community Garden.  Hillcrest Community Garden Coordinators Olufemi Lewis and Daniel Suber will be heading up the work day, which will include volunteers from the Organic Growers School.  The coordinators and volunteers will be breaking ground on a new expansion to the garden, which will further its aim of providing more food to more community members.  This work day will be followed by a Garden Party from 4-6pm at the pavilion behind the Carl E. Johnson Community Center, and will feature freshly prepared food and live entertainment!  Come on out and celebrate!

   The Second Annual Free Breakfast Program at Hillcrest was a big hit once again this year!  It was held every Saturday in February at Hillcrest’s Carl E. Johnson Community Center from 9:00 to 11:00 a.m.  Over 550 residents of the public housing community attended over all four Saturdays in February to eat freshly prepared, healthy, and local foods while listening to educational speakers.  The menu included fresh fruit, muffins, bagels, and other breakfast pastries, local pork and vegetarian sausage, turkey bacon, local eggs, pancakes, grits, and local potatoes.   Local coffee, juice, and tea were also served.  Check out photos and a Mountain X-Press article covering the event on our facebook page!

The Free Breakfast Program was a wonderful collaboration between the Hillcrest Resident Association and WWD-F.  We would also like to thank the many volunteers from all over the community who attended and helped to make the Free Breakfast Program truly special!

   We are excited to announce that a special edition of Herbs and Wellness Class entitled Healing with Crystals was held on Tuesday, February 11th, from 4:30 to 6:00 taught by Sarah Thomas, local crystal expert.  Sarah provided those in attendance with a basic knowledge of different kinds of crystals and how to use them for healing purposes.  We also have received a gift certificate and crystal donations from local crystal retailers, Beads and Beyond and Crystal Vision which enabled the Herbs and Wellness class to take a field trip to that store and select crystals for their own specific needs.

   On January 28th and February 28th, WWD-F helped to convene the highly anticipated HACA/Resident Roundtable meetings with select staff from the Housing Authority, representatives from the Resident Council, neighborhood leaders, and staff from WWD-F and ABCRC. The meetings were facilitated by Ashely Cooper, and provided a good starting place for everyone to come together about actions that can be taken to strengthen the relationships between Housing and the residents, and to ensure that resident representation is well-supported going forward. These meetings will continue on a monthly basis, with the next Roundtable scheduled for April 4th.

   After a short hiatus, yoga classes have started up again at Hillcrest!  The format has switched from Girl’s Yoga to yoga for all ages, and is now being held in the Carl E. Johnson Community Center from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. every Thursday.  Thanks so much to stellar volunteer yoga teacher Saat Shabad for leading this wonderful class!

☺   We are happy to welcome a new intern, Rachel Edwards to the organization!  Rachel comes to us from Western Carolina University, where she is currently pursuing a Master’s in Social Work.  She will be working with us 24 hours per week, assisting us with capacity building and supporting the work of the Community Resource Center.  Her interests include food justice, working with adolescents, natural health, and more!  We know she’s going to be a great fit for the next 8 weeks!

   WWD-F will begin the first of our New Volunteer Information Sessions on Friday, March 15th from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., with another information session following on Friday, April 5th, from 2:00 to 3:30 p.m.  Volunteers will have a chance to become familiar with the work we do, as well as learn where their interests and skill sets can fit in with our organization.

   We are excited to announce that three additional worker-owners of Ujamaa Freedom Market (Laura Clay, Davaion Bristol, and Calvin Allen) were officially selected by the original two worker-owners, Olufemi Lewis and Ayanfe Free in February, bringing the team to a total of five wonderful and unique aspiring business owners!  This marks an end to the group formation phase.  The worker-owners are now deep within the feasibility and business planning phase, and are registered to being taking the Foundations of Business Planning Course from Mountain BizWorks at the beginning of April.  Great connections and collaborations are happening all around this venture, and we are looking at a launch date for the business of June or July of 2013!

   The Hillcrest Community Resource Center has now completed organizing and stocking the clothing pantry and re-usable cloth diaper pantry!  Residents of all public housing neighborhoods in Asheville will now be able to access those items when they need them, relieving significant pressure from some families.  We are also very happy to announce that we have been selected for a small grant from the Community Foundation of Henderson County to stock our emergency pantry!  The $1800 grant will help us fill the emergency pantry with non-perishable supplies such as toiletries, diapers, clothing, and other items for a whole year!  Thank you so much, Community Foundation of Henderson County!


Volunteer Needs:

The Community Resource Center is in need of volunteers who would like to help with transporting residents to job interviews, GED classes, social services, and other important appointments.  Ideally we would like to find a number of volunteers willing to commit to several hours a day at least one day per week.  If interested, please contact Traci Thompson at 678-334-8126 and she will match you with a resident who needs transportation.  Additionally, volunteers are also needed to help with organizing the emergency pantry. 

WWD-F is still seeking volunteers for administrative/office/data entry work.  We would also like several volunteers to provide support during the Kid’s Cooking Class on Mondays from 4:30 to 6:00 p.m.  Please call or email the office at 828-255-8777 or if you are interested in assisting with this.