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Hunger and Health Coalition Executive Director Compton Fortuna said that even after the holiday season, food donations are very much needed.

Anna Oakes | Watauga Democrat



Originally published: 2013-12-28 15:47:27
Last modified: 2013-12-28 15:48:13

Sharing Tree Filled

by Anna Oakes

Just two days before Christmas, the Hunger and Health Coalition announced that all its Sharing Tree families had been adopted -- thanks to several groups and individuals chipping in to ensure the families had an enjoyable holiday.

"A bit last minute of course, but better late than never," said Hunger and Health Coalition Executive Director Compton Fortuna. "We were thrilled."

Through the Sharing Tree, groups or individuals adopt a family served by the Hunger and Health Coalition's food pantry or pharmacy programs and provide them with Christmas gifts. The recommended spending amount is about $50 per child.

Fortuna said about 135 families were served by the Sharing Tree this year, including 260 children and 52 seniors.

"This was one of the bigger years that we've had," she said.

Fortuna said the Sharing Tree coordinates with other organizations in the area to avoid duplication of services. For instance, the Sharing Tree recommends that families request clothing and other necessities instead of toys, because toys are available through local charities such as Santa's Toy Box.

She said the economy could be the reason for the last-minute push to get all of the families adopted in time for Christmas.

"People don't really have extra resources to give as generously -- they're having to provide Christmas stuff for their own families," she said. "It's a tough year up and down the income scale."

Now that the Thanksgiving and Christmas season is over, food donations are still the greatest need for the organization.

"Food definitely continues to be at the forefront of the need -- whether it's money to purchase food or food donations. It continues to be a big priority and a big need for us," said Fortuna.

Donations of food can be dropped off at the Hunger and Health Coalition from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The nonprofit organization is located at 141 Health Center Drive off Bamboo Road in Boone.
Monetary donations can be made online at http://www.hungerandhealthcoalition.com.