AWF reaches out during holidays

Article Published: Dec. 8, 2011 | Modified: Dec. 8, 2011
AWF reaches out during holidays

From left, Hannah Copeland, Parker Stevens, Patti Turner and Jean Brooks pose at this week’s Appalachian Women’s Fund holiday luncheon with presents donated for underprivileged women in the High Country.

Photo by Jeff Eason

Now in its fourth year of existence, the Appalachian Women’s Fund has already dispersed more than a quarter of a million dollars through its grants to nonprofit services that serve women and children.

In 2011, AWF distributed a record breaking $68,000 to 12 nonprofit agencies serving impoverished women and children.

Members of the AWF took time this week to enjoy a “thank you” holiday luncheon and to put together gift packages for women and children in the area. The luncheon was held on Tuesday at Crave in Boone.

“For this December meeting and holiday party we celebrate four years as an independent women’s fund to raise money for nonprofits in our region,” outgoing AWF president Patti Turner said. “Through our grant process we have raised more than $250,000 to help worthy agencies in seven counties.”

Turner recognized the hard work of AWF board members and “bucket ladies,” who give soaps, shampoos and other toiletries in plastic buckets to impoverished women in the area. She also introduced incoming AWF president Jean Brooks.

“We would not be where we are without Patti Turner,” Brooks said. “She has been a leader who has truly inspired us.”

Brooks also introduced new board member Kay McCloskey, from Ashe County. “We are trying to get board members from all seven counties,” Brooks said.

Brooks introduced AWF’s first part-time paid employee, executive director Parker Stevens.

“Parker and I have met with all of the agencies that we have funded,” Brooks said. “It is exciting and inspiring to meet with the people who are involved with these agencies. People who are doing good things in our communities.”

Representatives from such agencies as the Hospitality House, Daymark Recovery, Watauga Youth Network, WAMY, Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture, the Community Care Clinic and OASIS (Opposing Abuse with Service, Information and Shelter) were present at the luncheon.

“I have been here only two months and I have been amazed by what this group of talented and dedicated women can accomplish,” Stevens said. “It’s been an honor meeting you and working with you and I know with your support we can accomplish so much.”

Stevens is working in the AWF office in the Oak Summit Office Park off of State Farm Road in Boone.
Stevens introduced Hannah Copeland, a senior at Appalachian State University, who started the ASU chapter of the AWF two years ago.

“We recently raised enough money to buy a Macintosh computer,” Copeland said. “There are currently 200 ASU students below the poverty level who need laptops.”

According to AWF board member Cathy Williamson, AWF will soon be contacting civic groups, businesses and individuals in a drive to have used laptops donated to AWF. AWF, in turn, will work with ASU’s ACCESS organization to get the computers wiped clean by the school’s technology department and into the hands of needy students.

In addition to the numerous holiday gift bags, which were donated to AWF at the luncheon, the group raised money through a children’s book sale at Crave. Kathy Jordan, of Usborne Books and More, set up a shop selling books, Christmas cards, toys, dolls, little purses and games.

“We’re donating a portion of the proceeds from this sale to the Appalachian Women’s Fund,” Jordan said.

She added that she provides similar book sales for other charities, such as nursing homes, WAMY, Mountain Alliance and the Children’s Miracle Network.”

The Appalachian Women’s Fund works to fund agencies that help underprivileged women and children in the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina. It provides grant money to agencies that focus on domestic violence, substance abuse, homelessness, education, health care and hunger. For more information, call AWF at (828) 264-4002, or visit

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