On May 2 the Rutherfordton Womens League was scheduled to host a Kentucky Derby Party at Tyron International Equestrian Center (TIEC) to benefit the Washburn Community Outreach Center in Bostic. With the spread of COVID-19, the league had to cancel the event but the majority of the sponsors opted to move forward and send their sponsorship donations to Washburn Community Center.
Since 2016 the League has conducted an annual benefit for nonprofits or individuals who might be facing medical expenses or other needs.
A fundraising committee consisting of about 18 members worked for several months choosing an event and then planned and worked out the logistics of having the 2020 event at the TIEC in May.
The Washburn Center conducts food give-aways every Thursday, Friday and Saturday at its location off Piney Mountain Church Road in Bostic. Once a month the center hosts a food giveaway through the Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) federal program. The center also hosts a mobile truck food drive once a month that is held at South Mountain Christian Camp with food coming from Second Harvest Food Bank.
At last Thursday's TEFAP food give-away 332 families were assisted. That included 881 people, 272 children, 340 adults and 269 senior citizens.
More than 15 volunteers worked in the rain making sure everyone who drove in for food were served.
"Washburn Community Outreach Center is extremely grateful to the Rutherfordton Womens League and sponsors for their financial support during this period of growth," said center director Anita Richards-Behrns. "The COVID 19 virus did not stop them from contributing a check for $7,000."
Richards-Behrns said Washburn will use this money to start building a much needed 20 ft by 40 ft addition to an existing building in order to provide space to store the food that is distributed. The building will have five overhead doors, two walk-in doors and will be climate controlled. It will also provide shelter for volunteers to work during food give-aways when there is inclement weather such as last Thursday.
"This expansion is needed for additional space to pack and distribute TEFAP food, this will stream line the process. Gratitude fills our hearts. Thank you for the support," Richards-Behrns said.
Through TEFAP, the US Department of Agriculture purchases a variety of nutritious foods in emergency situations.
The following businesses were event sponsors, donating funds to Washburn: Rutherford Regional Hospital, RHI Legacy Foundation, Inc., Appling Boring Company, Thompson Contractors, Inc., Associated Printing and Services, Inc., Artifacturing, LLC, Alex and Jane Bell, Blue Ridge Design, King Law Firm, Southeast Integrative Health, Odom Engineering, McMahan's Funeral Home, Inc., Small Town Coffee Roasters, LLC and Carpenter Mulch Products, Inc.
Past events and beneficiaries were: 2019 - RWL's Rec Run to raise money for Kiwanis Park; 2018- A Path to Overcoming Obstacles for PATH Women's Shelter; 2017- Team Jackson vs MEN-1 Cancer event at Forest City Owls for Preston and Parker Jackson (cancer patients) and 2016 - Crazy4Colby Race for Cancer patient Colby Whiteside.
Rutherford Women's League, Inc. was incorporated in 1996. It is a 40 member volunteer group that selects a charitable beneficiary in Rutherford County each year. The members hold an event to raise money. The members ask community agencies and businesses to sponsor the event and members sell tickets and/or registrations for the event and participate in putting on the event.