Neighbors helping Neighbors

by Wyndy Bonesteel

After reading the April 2020 edition of the Haw Creek Community Association newsletter, Hawthorne Villages resident Linda Kooiker had an idea. The front page of the newsletter addressed places in the Asheville area that were providing food support due to the hardships that came along with Covid-19. To Linda, this became a call to action to love her neighbors- her immediate neighbors in the Spruce Hill Apartments- and to bring her community together for a common good.

In mid-April, Linda spearheaded a movement in her Hawthorne Villages community and fellow villagers eagerly joined in. Linda contacted Karyn Solomon, the property manager at Spruce Hill Apartments, and offered to fill a pantry with necessities for residents who might be in need. And every Tuesday since then, the Hawthorne Villages residents have filled the backs of a couple of cars and delivered the goods to the Spruce Hill management office.

Since schools were providing breakfast and lunch to school aged children, Linda was concerned about other needs that might be outstanding. Since SNAP doesn’t cover items like paper goods or even diapers, those items are often included in the deliveries. And while canned goods and other non-perishables are weekly additions, Linda and her crew also deliver fresh fruits, vegetables, and even fresh meats. Karyn and her super assistant Emma sort and organize the donations and have created an eye pleasing grocery set up in a small IOx10 room for residents to come in and shop.

*** With the pandemic still causing havoc, Linda and her neighbors decided to do a little more. They organized and provided complete Thanksgiving meals to 15 families in Spruce Hill Apartments.

According to Linda, it’s all very informal. It’s just neighbors helping neighbors.