Elizabeth Hamrick has been giving food to people in Madison County for more than 12 years, but she never anticipated getting praise for her good deeds.
Hamrick was nonetheless given the "Excellence in Community Service" award by the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution on December 13.
In that they work hard to assist others, it's a terrific organization, according to Hamrick. "They uphold the ideals of their predecessors, who desired to assist others and carry out deeds of this nature."
Since 2011, Hamrick has volunteered more than 35 hours every week, totaling more than 1,900 hours annually, to assist distribute donated food from Fresh Market locations.
The 75-year-old Hamrick was raised on Wolf Laurel and spent 40 years working in schools, spending about half of that time as a media expert and librarian and the other half in the classroom.
She was employed by A-B Tech, and she additionally taught first and eighth grades at Asheville Christian Academy and a K–8 school in the Charlotte region, where her husband was at the time working at a bank.
Hamrick also spent ten years as a teacher at Enka's Hominy Valley Elementary School.
After her teaching retirement, she had only begun to serve her community.
According to Hamrick, "The feeding program started (after) a lady I had known via church work with my husband."
The lone manager there informed me that he had a spot available for delivery to Madison County on Sunday.
In addition to providing them with meals, we also had stores where they could buy clothing and food. It was somewhat like a big sale. In Madison County's mountains, we would travel as far back as we could.
After a while, Hamrick's friend declared she had had enough and was leaving. They lack transportation, are ill, are in need, are hungry, and their kids need assistance. Hamrick's background in education and her drive to help others both reflect memories of her early years.
Hamrick claimed that when she first began the program, she discussed the most pressing needs in the community with Tommy Justus of Mars Hill Baptist Church.
Justus recommended Ivy Ridge in Madison County Housing Authority and the Marshall Housing Authority to Hamrick.
The executive director of the Marshall Housing Authority, Linda Payne, is in charge of 50 flats with one to four bedrooms.
According to Payne, it is low income, and rent is determined by the resident's income. Your lights, water, heat, everything is included in that rent.
Payne, who has worked with Hamrick for more than ten years, claims that she only remembers Hamrick being absent on one occasion, and even then, it was only because Payne had advised her not to come in because of the weather.
Elizabeth is something we must emphasize, Payne added. "She skipped one day because there were maybe three feet of snow, which she did”. She then added, "If you don't mind, I'll just come tomorrow."
Payne asserts that the contributions made by Hamrick have benefited many Madison people, particularly the county's senior citizens.
Many of my clients have told me that they only receive $25 to $30 per month in food stamps. For that meager sum, it's not worth traveling up there to fill out the paperwork,' Payne added. They come down here, and even just a meal or two will suffice to sustain them for the entire week.
The meal contribution also gives many of her clients a chance to sit and chat with friends.
We have folks who wouldn't miss it, according to Payne. "They'll come over here and show off the food they've prepared in pictures. Additionally, you never know what (Hamrick) will bring.”
Counting 240,000 miles
Hamrick has driven her Toyota Highlander more than 240,000 miles while running the food delivery operation.
Holder claims that she made a joke with the executive director of the Madison Housing Authority about how the car was "just warming up."
Holder stated that she had traveled more than 240,000 miles to ensure the welfare of the residents of Madison County.
For a sizable portion of those 240,000 miles, Cole Jackson worked as a store manager at The Fresh Market on Merrimon Avenue. Jackson recommended Hendrick in a letter to the Daughters of the American Revolution.
Jackson wrote in the letter, "She is truly a joy to deal with and our store loves having her here anytime she picks up items." She satisfies every requirement we could have for a contribution merchant. She has taken the time to get to know our staff, always ensures that she abides by our corporate policies, and adores what she does.
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