This has certainly been a year like no other, and for almost everyone, it’s one that we’re more than happy to put behind us. The challenges we’ve faced, individually and as a community, are unprecedented in our lifetimes. But despite the hardship and loss, or perhaps because of it, people and organizations have found new, creative ways to support each other and to meet the needs of the moment. This coming together of the community, even in a time when we were called upon to stay apart, has been one of the silver linings of the pandemic.
Like other nonprofit organizations in the Valley, Friends and Neighbors of Swannanoa (FANS) had to do some creative thinking about how to best serve the community in these very strange times. Although we were unable to hold the many community events that we normally sponsor during the year, we continued to work hard to keep the community informed through this newsletter, and our Facebook page and website. Our Swannanoa Community Garden was hampered by a loss of volunteers from schools and summer camps, but our garden managers and a smaller group of core volunteers continued, undaunted, to grow vegetables and flowers that were donated to our neighbors in need.
Responding to a nationwide blood shortage caused by cancellations of blood drives at businesses and schools, FANS partnered with the American Red Cross and Valley Hope Church to sponsor a series of Swannanoa Community Blood Drives. The response was immediate and overwhelming. Three blood drives have been held so far, with 111 pints of blood collected. Our first two drives filled up within a few days of being posted. Thank you to all those who have participated! (We have another blood drive scheduled for February 12; see separate article in this newsletter.)
Like everyone, we at FANS are hopeful that 2021 will be a much better year, and that we’ll be back with the community events that you’ve come to love and expect – outdoor movies and concerts in Grovemont Square, twice-annual Community Yard Sales, the Swannanoa Sweep Community Cleanup, the Swannanoa Winterfest, and more. In the meantime, one thing that the coronavirus hasn’t cancelled is our bills. We were unable to hold the spring and fall yard sales, which are our primary annual fundraisers. Consequently, the cupboards are a little bare. If you’re in a position to do so, please consider making a donation to support FANS’ work in the community. Click on the link below to donate via Paypal, or mail your check to FANS, PO Box 697, Swannanoa, NC 28778.
Thank you, and happy holidays!