We have told this story many times before, but as the holidays are moving quickly upon us it is important that we remember that among the holiday meals, parties, and presents it is all the more important to keep in mind that there are many in our community who won’t be joining us around our Thanksgiving or Christmas tables, or any table for that matter.

It started with a simple and sad story. This little girl was only in middle school, but she knew all too well what no child at her age, or any age should know.

She was hungry, and had been hungry for some time. Not the hunger that boys and girls have between meals, but the hunger that comes from an empty table. The hunger that comes from not having enough food at home.

This brave young lady sat in her counselor’s office and ate corn meal from a box that came in a back pack of food she was to take home. She had not eaten much while school was out on break and couldn’t wait until she got home to eat. She opened the box and ate the corn meal out of her hand.

Now this didn’t happen in a “third-world country” or in the most rural parts or the inter-city of our country. It happened here in Buncombe County. Not in ourown back yard, but right in our own living room.

As one in five children in our community struggle with hunger each day. Many times the meals they receive at school is the only food they will have to eat and when the holidays arrive, they face the chance of going hungry until they are back in class.

To reach out to these children, three years ago Arby’s, The Brumit Restaurant Group, the Arby’s Foundation, and Eblen Charities have joined together to create Arby’s JoyFULL Holidays at Home program to provide children with the food they may have to go without during the holidays.

How the Program Works:

In partnership with the Buncombe County and Asheville City School Systems, the JoyFull Home for the Holidays provides an Arby’s Meal Card so students in need can visit any Arby’s in our area and receive a free Arby’s Healthy Kids Meal each day during the Holidays. The cards are distributed through the schools.

This fall we will be expanding the JoyFull Holidays at Home Program to Henderson County to help provide more children the meals they need while away from school.

“Arby’s and the Brumit Restaurant Group have been involved for a great many years in reaching out to children who are in need of food. Arby’s partners on a national level through ‘No Kid Hungry’ that works to ensure that every child has access to healthy food every day,” states Joe Brumit, CEO of Brumit Restaurant Group and board member of Eblen Charities. “We wanted to make sure that children in our own community have enough to eat, especially during those longer holiday breaks. We firmly believe that it is everyone’s responsibility to reach out to these children and are proud and honored to be partnering with Eblen in making sure they have a truly joyful holiday season.”

“We are honored and grateful to Joe, Arby’s, and the Brumit Restaurant Group for their kindness and generosity in making sure that children who are less fortunate in these difficult times do not have to go hungry when they are out of school,” adds Bill Murdock, Executive Director of Eblen Charities. “I have had the wonderful opportunity to have known and been friends with Joe since the very beginning of Eblen Charities, and he was instrumental in the creation of Eblen. He and I have talked for some time on developing a unique program and partnership that would serve those in need in our community. Our community is indeed fortunate to have a company such as the Brumit Restaurant Group, Arby’s, and the Arby’s Foundation who reach out to so many in need. Western North Carolina certainly has no greater friends.”


According to the USDA 16 million children lived in households that did not have an adequate supply of food, and almost 3 million of these children lived in households that experienced hunger. Research indicates that hungry children do more poorly in school and have lower academic achievement because they are not well prepared for school and cannot concentrate.

More than 50% of students in Buncombe County Schools participate in the free or reduced lunch programs.

For more information on Arby’s JoyFull Holidays at Home please contact Bill Murdock at Eblen Charities at 828-242-2848 or via email at [email protected]

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