The Fund for Haywood County awards $20,000 to The Community Kitchen to build two classrooms

Left to right front row, Jose Pena, Gayle Ammons, Kim Czaja, Executive Director, Cecil Caldwell Second row, left to right, Nyda Bittmann-Neville, Advisory Board member, The Fund for Haywood County, Allison Jennings Back row, left to right, Jim Rose, Stacy Waldroop, Chris Jennings, and Michael Scott.

Press release:

The Fund for Haywood County awards $20,000 to The Community Kitchen to build two classrooms

The Fund for Haywood County, an affiliate of The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina (CFWNC), recently presented a check for $20,000 to The Community Kitchen to support building two classrooms.

This grant was part of The Community Foundation’s People in Need grant cycle and was funded by The Fund for Haywood County and an anonymous fund of The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina.

“The opportunity to purchase this property came just four months after I became the Executive Director,” stated Kim Czaja. “I often found myself looking up asking, ‘What are you thinking?’ The project just seemed too much to take on when I was still learning to use the dishwasher. I was reminded then that nothing is too big for God. This grant from The Fund for Haywood County and The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina is an incredible example of His power and the generosity of others. We are so thankful for the support of our vision to make a lasting impact on our community and neighbors through these classrooms.”

“The excitement of this grant overwhelms me. The thoughts of having classrooms for people to get their GED to further their education and to offer computer classes is such a blessing. This grant will make this possible,” said Allison Jennings.

Jim Rose commented, “With the classrooms we will be able to provide a separate and semi-private environment to teach some basic skills like interviewing with a potential employer or learning how to sew. Organizations like Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Drugs in Our Midst and others that need a closed space for meetings may find a safe home at the Community Kitchen. Exciting options abound.”

“This (grant money for classrooms) is so encouraging to me. I know we have a big job ahead in raising the funds to complete the building and getting all the details in place. This grant is like being able to see a finish line which keeps you going forward, even when there is a big hill ahead. I thank God for people who love Him and are getting behind His kingdom’s work. It is bigger than all of us,” said Stacy Waldroop.

Gayle Ammons said, “Some have never experienced having several classrooms with computers and technology. This will give individuals an opportunity to learn and will empower them in a non-discriminate atmosphere.”

The Community Kitchen currently distributes food to those in need in Haywood County and the classrooms will be a beneficial addition to the services provided.

Elizabeth Teague, AICP, CTP, Development Services Director, Town of Waynesville said “The Chestnut Park property is an open green space that used to be part of a summer camp and includes a stream and an ageing picnic area.  The Town has been working with neighbors to identify community needs surrounding this park area and to implement several initiatives to improve neighborhood safety.  Specific requests from the community meeting included landscaping, improvements to the stream bank and clean-up of the stream, and places to sit or picnic.  Neighbors also asked for overall cleanup of the park property and for replacement of the older picnic tables and shelter that is currently there.”

“In response to the neighborhood input”, Ms. Teague continued, “the Town has developed a preliminary concept plan and will use Medford Funds to accomplish as much of the plan as possible in concert with Town in-kind services and volunteer resources.  The Town’s Public Works Department can establish landscaped areas and install new park furnishings and will partner with  Haywood Waterways, Scout groups, and other volunteers to assist with park and stream clean-up.  The Medford Grant will pay for plant materials and trees, benches and picnic tables, and signage.  Together these efforts will contribute to redevelop this property as a usable park space for surrounding neighbors and the general public to enjoy as part of the Town’s park system.

She furthered stated, “The Town has also partnered with Haywood Waterways and the Land Conservation Council to address the stream bank restoration needs within the Park through the Pigeon River Fund.  The goal is to bring as many different resources and experts onto the site as we can in order to create a safe and fun place for people to gather, while also protecting the natural beauty and environment of the park itself.  The Medford Grant is essential in helping us get the project off the ground and to begin making improvements this fiscal year.  The Town will also begin a Comprehensive Parks and Recreation Master Plan for all of Waynesville. As a new Town Park property, Chestnut Park will be integrated into the overall Town park system, programming, and overall plan”.

The Fund for Haywood County, an affiliate of The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina, is a permanently endowed fund to meet local needs. Tax-deductible gifts are added to the principal, which is preserved and invested. The returns are used to make grants to support nonprofits in Haywood County. Since 1994, The Fund for Haywood County, in partnership with CFWNC, has awarded 104 grants totaling $915,343. For more information about The Fund for Haywood County, please contact Advisory Board Chair Christine Mallette at (828) 734-0570.

To make a tax-deductible donation to The Fund for Haywood County, donate online at or by check made out to “CFWNC” with “The Fund for Haywood County” in the memo line to: CFWNC, P. O. Box 627, Waynesville, NC, 28786, Memo line: The Fund for Haywood County. Please note that checks not made out to CFWNC may be returned. Contributions of any size are welcome.

The Community Foundation is a nonprofit serving eighteen counties in Western North Carolina. Last year, CFWNC facilitated more than $18.9 million in charitable giving. CFWNC supports the growth of its affiliate funds to extend the benefits of philanthropy across the region. To learn more about The Community Foundation and its affiliates, visit

About Dan Hesse
I grew up outside of Atlanta and moved to WNC in 2001 to attend Montreat College. After college, I worked at NewsRadio 570 WWNC as an anchor/reporter and covered Asheville City Council and the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners starting in 2004. During that time I also completed WCU's Master of Public Administration program. You can reach me at

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