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News Community CareNet and Life Church gather supplies for local school children

Organizations seek to ease loss of “tax-free” weekend.

Last weekend, Georgia and South Carolina held their taxfree weekend sales, an event that North Carolina also once participated in before the N.C. legislature did away with the two day tax relief. A move that was described as a way of closing a tax loophole – but not everybody thought it was a good move.

Luckily here in Macon County, some local organizations saw the need created by the loss of the weekend and was quick to act.

“When we made contact with our partners at Macon Program for Progress and learned that the N.C. tax-free weekend was not to happen this year, our plans quickly turned from just having a family fun cook-out, to a much more resource-providing event,” said CareNet Executive Director Shaina Adkins, who had already been working to host a cook-out on Saturday.

But the two organizations weren't left to have the event on their own. Pastor Chris Hughes and volunteer coordinator Nancy Gasbarro from Life Church Franklin contacted CareNet around the time that they learned of the change and together, the first ever CareNet Back-To-School Cookout was held.

“It was a true blessing to have not only the day of support from more than 10 members of the Life Church congregation, but also donations of much needed school supplies for children in need, right here in Macon County,” said Adkins.

According to Gasbarro, joining the effort with CareNet provided the church the perfect opportunity to work in and give back to the community.

“It was a no-brainer for us,” she said. “We were honored to be a part of it. For Life Church it was an opportunity for a great time of fellowship and getting to help and know others in the community.”

Prior to the event, the two groups were able to gather items such as safety scissors, pencils, crayons, glue sticks, spiralbound notebooks, composition books, folders, loose-leaf paper, and three-ring binders in order to be dispersed to local school children last Saturday.

“And through our wonderful partnership with MANNA FoodBank of Asheville, N.C., we were able to provide children with some pretty awesome lunchboxes with either a reusable snack holder or drink bottle in each,” said Adkins.

Some final totals show that the efforts from the volunteers provided good outcomes:

  • 71 lunchboxes, complete with a snack container or bottle/cup inside.
  • 65 children assisted
  • 35 households/families assisted
  • 23 free children's haircuts provided

“In addition to providing children with back-to-school supplies, we were able to provide free children's haircuts through the awesome help of Modern Barber Shop and Mirror Dance Hair Studio,” said Adkins. “Rob Gasbarro, owner/partner at Outdoor 76, showed off some amazing clipper skills by stepping in to assist the ladies from Modern Barber Shop (Laura O'Neill) and Mirror Dance Hair Studio (Jackie Audette) while volunteering with the group from Life Church Franklin.”

MPP will also be providing school supplies to more than 60 children through their Head Start program.

Adkins says that if there are no other events scheduled to assist families in need next year prior to school starting back, CareNet will look to host the event again.

“If there are any agencies interested in participating and providing services (i.e. eye exams, dental exams, etc.) or resources for future events, we encourage them to contact our offices,” she said.

Aside from help with future events, if anyone is interested in donating to CareNet or volunteering in the future, they can contact the organization at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .


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