Tools for Schools

Graduation Initiative

If the Shoe Fits – Founded in 1999 by the Asheville Tourists Baseball Club as the Asheville’s Tourists Children’s Fund to assist children with specific individual needs, the If the Shoe Fits Programs was developed in 2002 to assist children in local schools to purchase shoes that parents could not afford.  Partnering with Eblen Charities since 1995, this focus on one area of need has ensured a more successful program and assists hundreds of children each year.  In 2007, Nike joined the If the Shoe Fits program to provide hundreds of shoes each year.

Student Clothing Project: The Student Clothing Project began a few days before Thanksgiving in 2006 when we received a call from a friend who was interested in joining us in a project that would assist students who are in need of clothing.  Our friend had been assisting students in northern Buncombe County for some time and approached Eblen Charities to help oversee and expand the program and work directly with the schools in Buncombe County and Asheville City.  The Student Clothing Project is open to all students in need of clothing in Buncombe County and Asheville City school systems.  This program not only provides the clothes students need, but also gives the students the choice and dignity that their classmates have and don’t have to depend on hand-me-downs or other second hand clothing to wear to school.

Buncombe County/Eblen Charities Emergency Assistance Partnership:  Much like our original Emergency Assistance Program the Buncombe County/Eblen Charities Emergency Assistance Partnership provides assistance to families in short-term financial crisis due to unusual circumstances.  This program is in conjunction with the Work First Program and is open for families with children who have at least one parent employed.  The program pays for utility deposits, rent, electricity, gas and water.

The Food for Thought School Breakfast and Lunch Program: In alliance with the Buncombe County and Asheville City School Systems, the Food for Thought School Breakfast and Lunch Program provides assistance for any and all children who cannot afford breakfast and/or lunch during the school day and are not eligible for the federal free or reduced lunch program.  All children are eligible for the program and referrals are made to Eblen by area schools.  Each child enrolled receives a prepaid lunch card, the same as all other children prepaying for their lunch and the schools then bill the Eblen Charities.  The children do not know where the cards come from as they maintain their dignity and are not identified or singled out as someone in need.

The Food for Thought Snack Program: As an extension of the Hearts with Hands Grocery Program, the Food for Thought program works within the local school systems to provide food for local children and their families.  Operating under the premise that children cannot learn if they are hungry, this partnership serves hundreds of children each year.  Thanks to our partners the Sunrise Kiwanis Club, North Buncombe Kiwanis Club, Beverly-Hanks & Associates Realtors, Hearts with Hands, the Credit Unions of Western North Carolina, Carolinas Credit Union Foundation, the Bell South Telephone Pioneers, Asheville Cleaners, Biltmore Farms, Manna Food Bank, and Ingles Markets, tens of thousands of snacks will be provided to local children at no cost who may not be able to bring snacks to school.

The Food Stamp Intervention Program: Created with the assistance of Buncombe County Department of Social Services Director, Mandy Stone, this partnership helps provide assistance to families awaiting their food stamps.  Out of concern for the families needing food stamps and the fact that they may be without food while they wait for their card to arrive, DSS joined Hearts with Hands, Ingles Markets, and Eblen Charities in providing assistance to help them bridge the gap between hunger and help.