Something sweet is in the air. The seventh annual sweet potato cooking contest and fundraiser is happening Saturday, Oct. 1. This event will also double as the fall open house for the new Homegrown Families Health and Education Center at 201 Charlotte St. The center houses a variety of integrative family health services, including licensed professional counseling, physical therapy for women’s pelvic floor health, acupuncture, craniosacral therapy and massage.
All proceeds raised this year will be donated to Asheville Buncombe Institute of Parity Achievement. ABIPA’s mission, according to the website, is to improve health conditions for African-Americans through education, health services and advocacy while promoting understanding of the African- American experience in order to facilitate collaboration among diverse parts of the community.
“Although I have been providing services for expecting families here in Asheville since 1999, I have been increasingly discouraged by the dramatic disparities in respect to health status and access to services between African-American and white communities here in Asheville and the role that institutionalized racism plays into this disparity,” says Chama Woydak, owner of Homegrown Families Health and Education Center. “Low income African-American women are most likely to be affected by poor birth outcomes, and they are the least likely to interface with doulas and childbirth educators. One of the ways to solve that problem is to recruit, promote and support candidates of color into these fields.”
Woydak has also been working with The Community Centered Health Home Team, which is funded by a grant from the Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation and composed of 15 different local nonprofits, including MAHEC OB, Pisgah Legal Services, YWCA and WIC, to brainstorm opportunities for training and services to the communities served by these organizations. “It is because of this collaboration that I am providing a birth doula training to African-American women living in both Hillcrest and Pisgah View Apartments this November,” Woydak says. The goal is to train women who have shown an interest in providing support for expecting parents and families in their community to become successful professionals in this field, she adds.
Along with the cooking contest, there will also be live music by Westsound, one of Asheville’s soul bands, and The Ultimate Ice Cream will make a limited-edition sweet potato ice cream for the event. Children of all ages are welcome, and there will be two bounce houses for kids. Those who wish to attend without entering the cooking contest are asked to bring a potluck dish to complement all the sweet potatoes.
WHAT: Seventh annual Sweet Potato Cooking Contest, Fundraiser and Fall Open House.
WHERE: Homegrown Families Health and Education Center, 201 Charlotte St., Asheville.
WHEN: Saturday, Oct. 1, 4-8 p.m.
COST: Free to enter and attend; $5 minimum donation to taste, judge and vote on dishes
EVENT INFO: homegrownbabies.com/events