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A Helping Hand in a Time of Need

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How has the Council on Aging made a positive difference in the lives of elderly citizens in Buncombe County? A way to find out is to ask local seniors who receive services or support through the COABC. Recently, I interviewed James and Martha Hare, lifelong residents of the Fletcher community and grateful clients of the Council on Aging.

James and Martha are a cheerful couple whose faith and integrity are typical of citizens their age. Born into farming families during the Great Depression, they both developed a lasting respect for hard work and self-reliance. James’ father was a farmer and a local Baptist preacher who spent nearly every Sunday morning in the church pulpit. James recalls his father working for $5.00 a week even as he supported those less fortunate in his church congregation. Martha’s parents farmed as well and she vividly remembers how hard they worked to provide for their seven children.

The Hares started their young family and eventually raised five children of their own. James made a living as a landscaper, a mill worker and did some farming along the way. Martha raised the kids and later worked at Dia Compe, the local bicycle company and at Christ School in the school cafeteria. There was not much money to go around and they remember their favorite family activity was attending the local movie theater in downtown Asheville. The ticket prices at the time were $.25 for each ticket. My how times have changed.

James and Martha do not consider themselves wealthy but they are proud of the life they made together. Recently, they found themselves in a difficult time financially and called on the COABC for support. Their old furnace needed maintenance work and their leaky commodes needed repair. As the service coordinator for the Fletcher community, I helped them apply for an emergency grant with Mountain Housing Opportunities. Mountain Housing updated their bathrooms with new commodes, a new shower, and added handrails for safety. The Hares’ also received a new heat pump that will keep their home warm during the winter.

Both James and Martha are very appreciative for the services provided by COABC. James states, “I can truthfully say the Council on Aging has done wonderful things for us. I would encourage anyone needing help to call the Council on Aging.” Adds Martha, “I have never had any place treat us with more respect and honesty. I recommend them to anybody.” We at the COABC are also thankful and proud to support families like James and Martha Hare.

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