The $600 checks represent the first federal assistance many in WNC have received to cope with the economic fallout of the pandemic since the first coronavirus relief package was signed into law by President Donald Trump on March 27.
When Emma Strickland learned she was pregnant with her second child, she started looking for an alternative to a hospital birth. She found it at the WNC Birth Center. The center is open during the COVID pandemic but has had to scale back on some of its related services. Ironically, that’s led to a shortage of income at a time when women like Strickland find themselves increasingly drawn to a birth center.
The Asheville-based nonprofit Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy’s work included both valuable wildlife habitats, such as the Wiles Creek and Little Rock Creek preserves, and prime farmland at risk of development. Sandy Hollar Farms in Buncombe County and Bowditch Bottoms in Yancey County were among the agricultural projects completed in 2020.
North Carolina food assistance programs struggle under economic stress of continuing pandemic.
The foundation approved roughly $47 million in grants throughout the year, including over $3 million for personal protective equipment, $5 million to address substance use disorder, $3.7 million for racial equity and $3 million toward affordable housing.
Former Xpress managing editor Jon Elliston shares his recap of key developments in 2020’s local media landscape.
For many environmental organizations across Western North Carolina, COVID-19 fell like a lightning-struck tree across the path to progress. But like an intrepid hiker, WNC’s activists and organizers have bushwhacked new trails for action in the world of the pandemic.
Xpress Assistant Editor Daniel Walton and local community figures discuss how the year’s events have accelerated many of the issues that were already facing Western North Carolina.
Organizations providing food assistance to North Carolinians experience higher demand as unemployment increases.
On Nov. 18, nonprofit Conserving Carolina announced that it had entered a contract to buy an unused 19-mile rail corridor between Brevard and Hendersonville for conversion into a greenway. Backers hope the Ecusta Trail will become a regional draw for running and biking enthusiasts.
Tax records examined by Asheville Watchdog reveal that in the decade leading up to the $1.5 billion sale of Asheville’s community-owned hospital system, a steadily increasing amount of Mission’s revenue went to salaries and bonuses for an increasingly crowded suite of non-clinical executives.
Hikers and photographers from across the state have formed Waterfall Keepers of North Carolina to care for and protect the natural wonder of waterfalls.
Nancy Mercure East, a retired veterinarian from Waynesville, and her hiking partner, Air Force veteran Chris Ford of Knoxville, Tenn., set a new record for hiking all of the park’s trails on Oct. 3 with a time of 29 days, 10 hours and 12 minutes. The two shattered the previous mark of 33 days set by Knoxville trail runner Jeff Woody.
“I have overwhelming gratitude for the people who voted for our climate in the recent election.”
“The current trends eroding our once-common values honoring truth, wisdom and collaboration will not extinguish my steady hope for our national and global future — a hope for policies and practices that serve all people and planet, starting with our own hearts and relentlessly expanding love into backyards, city streets, forests and beyond.”
“With our diverse backgrounds, experiences and deep, heartfelt passion for conservation, I kind of feel like the Avengers assembled — and we always end our meetings with ‘go team.'”
“In the midst of 2020, we learned that the impossible can become possible through the power of community.”
Jodie Williams, a teacher at Bell’s School for People Under Six in Fletcher, recently received a Henderson County award for supporting student health and wellness through gardening. But with many students learning online due to COVID-19, Williams and other local educators are digging deep to keep their school gardens viable.
For many area nonprofits, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a unique problem: Too many donations are coming in to secondhand resell stores, leaving staff scrambling to process a flood of items.
Annual events move to Zoom, nonprofits prepare for Thanksgiving and more area wellness news.
For many WNC nonprofits, business support and partnerships comprise a significant part of their budgets. And while Asheville has a comparatively large number of nonprofits per capita, area businesses rise to the need.