SYLVA – On Monday, June 22, Southwestern Community College hosted Nantahala Health Foundation (NHF) representatives as they set up a mask distribution site at the Burrell Building on the Jackson Campus.
The mask distribution resulted from a collaborative effort between Nantahala Health Foundation, the United Way of Asheville and Buncombe County, and the State of Franklin Health Council to distribute face coverings to non-profit organizations throughout Western North Carolina.
“The most important thing that we can be doing for each other as a community is to make sure that we’re all wearing masks,” said Paige Christie, Director of the Community Table in Sylva. “We are very grateful to be one of the many nonprofits getting a distribution of masks to give out to our visitors. These are people who may otherwise have no way of getting one to protect themselves and others.”
The Nantahala Health Foundation, which supports the six westernmost counties in NC and the Qualla Boundary, was working to distribute more than 35,000 masks in June.
“The supply has been distributed based on requests from each organization submitted to the United Way of Asheville Buncombe County or directly to NHF. Thanks to the State of Franklin sharing their mask resources, we’re happy to say that we’re going to be able to fully support the needs of our service area,” said Lori Bailey, Director of the Nantahala Health Foundation. “We’re extremely grateful for both our suppliers and distributors for helping make this happen. It is absolutely vital that we protect our communities as much as possible.”
Dr. Don Tomas, SCC’s President, worked with Bailey to coordinate a time and date for the mask distribution.
“We have a great partnership with the NHF, and we offered to help without hesitation,” Dr. Tomas said. “We have the space and means to create a safe, central location for such an important cause. It’s an honor to support our communities in any way possible.”
The NHF also donated 1,500 masks to the SCC Foundation, a 501c3 non-profit subsidiary of SCC. The masks will be used to promote employee and student safety on campus. Earlier this year, the NHF pledged $107,000 toward equipment for SCC’s new Opticianry program, set to launch when SCC’s new Health Sciences Building opens in 2021.
“The Nantahala Health Foundation exists to support initiatives that address the social determinants of health, not just as they relate to COVID-19, but in all ways possible,” said Bailey. “No matter what happens, we’re going to be here for our communities.”
SCC is open, and fall classes will start Aug. 17. For more information about Southwestern and the programs it offers, visit SouthwesternCC.edu, call 828.339.4000 or drop by your nearest SCC location.
For more information on the Nantahala Health Foundation, please visit natahalahealthfoundation.org.