Nothing can hold back the giving spirit of the holidays here in Western North Carolina, particularly when it comes to ensuring that thousands of would-be empty plates will be filled with food.
At a time when more families across the mountains than ever are deeply burdened, Ingles Markets is again launching the annual Ingles Giving Tree, a benefit for MANNA FoodBank and families across WNC struggling with hunger. Right now, MANNA and their partner network of nonprofit agencies are serving more than 100,000 people each month with emergency food support.
This year, Ingles Markets is keeping the tradition alive with a magnificent, 20-foot tall live tree from Grassy Creek Nursery, part of Smith Family Farms, a North Carolina farm located in West Jefferson. The tree will be decorated by award-winning floral directors, and the live lighting will take place on the Monday prior to Thanksgiving at the Asheville Outlets, with Mrs. Laura Ingle on hand to light the tree in person.
The live tree lighting will be Monday, November 23, from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm at the Asheville Outlets. It will be broadcast live on WLOS as well as streamed live on the WLOS website.
With the huge increase in the need for food, Ingles is making it easy for anyone in WNC to help: All Ingles stores in the 16 counties of MANNA’s service area will have $5- and $10-dollar Ingles Giving Tree icons for purchase at checkout, representing 20 and 40 meals that will benefit the families MANNA serves. For every dollar donated, MANNA can provide 4 meals to people facing hunger right now.
“Our hearts are full with knowing what this support will mean to so many who are in crisis right now in our community,” said Mary Nesbitt, Chief Development Officer for MANNA. “We are immensely grateful for our extraordinary partnership with Ingles, and that they have created this beautiful way to engage our communities across WNC, while keeping this amazing holiday tradition alive.”
“Ingles is honored to keep this holiday tradition going” said Ron Freeman, Ingles CFO. “While some of the logistics have changed, Ingles’ commitment, along with the support of our customers, remains the same: helping those in need in our community.”
Robert Ingle said it best: It wouldn’t be Christmas without the Ingles Giving Tree.
Even though the current world has changed so many things about how people will celebrate the holidays this year, Ingles, MANNA, and their dedicated nonprofit partner agencies are still adapting and ensuring that the hope and giving of the season is still going strong, and serving the families who are facing their hardest moment with not just the food they need, but the hope that comes from a community that cares.
Donations are now being accepted at mannafoodbank.org/the-ingles-giving-tree-tradition-continues/.