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Jim Harmon presents a check for $4,000 to Compton Fortuna, executive director of the Hunger and Health Coalition, on behalf of Blood, Sweat and Gears. Sherrie Norris | Watauga Democrat.



Originally published: 2013-08-21 10:57:43
Last modified: 2013-08-21 10:59:37

BSG gives $4,000 to Hunger Coalition

by Sherrie Norris

The Hunger and Health Coalition in Boone is among the first recipients to receive funds from Blood, Sweat and Gears Events.


Jim Harmon, representing BS&G, presented a check for $4,000 to the coalition on Monday.


Compton Fortuna, the coalition's executive director, said the generous donation "will go a long way" to help feed the hungry.


BS&G is an annual bike event that took place on June 22.


"Every bit of funding we can get right now is desperately needed and appreciated," Fortuna said. "For every $1 we receive, we are able to provide $7 worth of food."


Increasing demands for assistance during the summer months, coupled with drastic cuts in local funding, have resulted in "huge holes in our budget and our ability to meet the needs of our clients," Fortuna said.


Following a recent volunteer experience at the agency, Harmon said he was well aware of the services offered, as well as the pressing needs especially within the food pantry and did not want to delay delivering the donation.


Noting the success of the annual bike event that capped out at 1,250 participants this year, Harmon, one of the event's three founders and current board treasurer, said it is imperative to his committee that "as much money as possible be put back into the community."

 

Harmon said that $70,000 of the $75,000 raised this year was being disbursed to nonprofit organizations in the area, including $50,000 to the American Red Cross, which he described as "an integral part of the fundraiser since it started."


Harmon said that Blood, Sweat and Gears has come a long way in its 15-year history, especially since its first year when 123 riders signed up to participate.


On Feb. 1, registration for the 100-mile ride in June sold out in nine minutes, Harmon said, the 50-miler, "in a couple of hours."  

Fortuna referred to the donation as "a true blessing" for her organization.


 "Our mission statement says that we serve those in crisis situations, but with the economy the way it is, most of our folks are in a perpetual crisis. It's not just a one-time thing for many of them," she said.


Currently, about 100 boxes filled with 40 pounds of food leave the agency every day.


For more information about the Hunger and Health Coalition, call (828) 262-1628, visit http://www.hungercoalition.com or 141 Health Center Drive, Boone.


To learn more about Blood, Sweat and Gears events, how to participate as a cyclist or volunteer for the 2014 race, visit http://www.bloodsweatandgears.org.