Small bites: Church of the Advocate celebrates serving others

FREE LUNCH: Every Sunday at 1:30 p.m., the Church of the Advocate serves a free meal to those struggling with homelessness. This year the church celebrates 20 years of service in downtown Asheville. Photo courtesy of the Church of the Advocate

Since 1997, the Church of the Advocate has worked to improve the lives of people experiencing homelessness in Asheville through job placement programs, mental health services and free Sunday lunch offerings. Prepared by volunteers with donations from MANNA FoodBank, the Sunday lunches feed 100-150 people each week, says Janet Smith Moore, the church’s director of marketing and development. And those receiving the free meals aren’t required to attend religious services at the church. “Whether you come to our service or not, you will be fed,” she says.

On Thursday, Sept. 21, the church will celebrate 20 years of service with a fundraising dinner aimed at supporting the organization’s ongoing work in the community. “There are a lot of folks who have gotten involved over the last 20 years,” says Moore. “That gives us a great deal of satisfaction, to see how many other faith communities — whether they’re based here in downtown Asheville or not — see the need to address the problems of homelessness in our community.”

The event will feature appetizers by Pack’s Tavern and 67 Biltmore with the main course by Travinia Italian Kitchen. The menu will feature artisan bread; a salad with a three-herb vinaigrette; pasta mianona with asiago cream sauce, chicken, mushrooms and tomatoes; sausage and peppers; and seasonal miniature desserts. Travinia Italian Kitchen, says Moore, has been extremely generous. “They are donating all of the food for dinner and the dessert, which is a huge help to us,” she notes.

Along with the meal, the evening will include a musical performance from Rhoda Weaver and a silent auction. French Broad Chocolates, Baked Pie Co., Asheville Independent Restaurant Association, Navitat Canopy Adventures and Lexington Glass are among the organizations contributing items to the auction.

Moore says that even at the 20-year mark, the Church of the Advocate continues to grow. “We feel like we are actually in a period of discernment right now,” she explains. “We’re assessing what the community needs from us because it changes over time.”

Throughout its two decades, though, community-building has remained a focal point within its mission. “We kind of forget in this age of social media and the internet that community is really about looking another person in the eye and talking to them, holding their hand, helping them through grief or struggle,” Moore says. “That is a big part of what community does for us. And that’s a big focus for us — building a community of trust for many in the community who have lost trust.”

The Church of the Advocate’s 20th anniversary celebration runs 5-8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 21, at Trinity Episcopal Church, 60 Church St. Tickets are $35 per person, $60 for a pair or $300 for a table that seats nine. For details and tickets, visit

Fall Harvest Pies, Popcorn and Pints

Whisk AVL, Rayburn Farm and Twin Leaf Brewery will come together for an evening of Fall Harvest Pies, Popcorn and Pints on Saturday, Sept. 23. Pie and pint pairings will include bourbon peach pie with the Peachy Arsonist, Southern pecan pie with the Grand Cru and pumpkin and ganache pie with MDXXI Mexican Chocolate Stout. A fourth pairing will feature Asheville Tea Co.’s hot teas with a tiny apple pie. Rayburn Farm will offer fresh popcorn grown at the farm. Twin Leaf will also celebrate its Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation Find Your Pint release, with a percentage of the proceeds benefiting the foundation. Apples, jams and other fresh local goods will be for sale as well.

The beer and pie pairing runs from 2-7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 23, at Twin Leaf Brewery, 144 Coxe Ave. For details, visit  

Sundae Sunday

On Sunday, Sept. 24, Sugar & Snow Gelato will host Sundae Sunday, a fundraiser for the West Asheville Tailgate Market. House-made gelato sundaes with toppings including hot fudge, whipped cream, brownie bites and cherries will be $5.50 for adults, $3.50 for kids. All proceeds will benefit the market.

Sundae Sunday runs noon-5 p.m. at Sugar & Snow Gelato, 1446 Brevard Road. For details, visit

Real Food Revolution Dinner 2

The UNC Asheville Student Environmental Center and Active Students for a Healthy Environment will host the second Real Food Revolution Dinner on Monday, Sept. 25. The goal of the event is to raise awareness about the Real Food Challenge, an initiative that engages university students in helping to create a healthy, fair and green food system. The free dinner will include food and drinks from Buchi Kombucha, Neo Burrito, Roots Hummus, Green Sage Café, Mountain Food Products and Vortex Doughnuts. DJ Red Spinach will provide the evening’s entertainment. The meal is first-come, first-served.

Real Food Revolution Dinner 2 runs 5-8 p.m. Monday, Sept. 25, at 138 Sevier St. For details, visit

Wine dinner at Chestnut with Mountain Brook Vineyards

Chestnut is teaming up with Mountain Brook Vineyards for a wine dinner on Tuesday, Sept. 26. Highlights from chef Brian Crow‘s five-course meal include Sunburst Trout Farms trout salad, grilled venison tenderloin and a local cheese plate. Featured wines include NV Rambuntious Rosé,  2014 chardonnay, NV cabernet sauvignon, 2013 petit verdot and 2016 pinto grigio. Dennis Lanahan will discuss the wines.

The dinner runs 6:30-10 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 26, at Chestnut, 48 Biltmore Ave. Tickets are $105 per person and include tax and 20 percent gratuity. For details, visit

Pride Family Picnic

The LGBT Elder Advocates of WNC will host the annual Pride Family Picnic on Wednesday, Sept. 27. Hot dogs will be provided. Guests are asked to bring a side dish or dessert to share. Musical instruments are encouraged as well. The event is free to attend, but RSVPs are required.

Pride Family Picnic runs 3-5 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 27, at Weaver Park, 200 Murdock Ave. To RSVP, email or call 828-251-7438.


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About Thomas Calder
Thomas Calder received his MFA in Fiction from the University of Houston's Creative Writing Program. His writing has appeared in Gulf Coast, the Miracle Monocle, Juked and elsewhere. His debut novel, The Wind Under the Door, is now available.

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