My story is typical. I became homeless because I had breast cancer. I lost several jobs due to illness and I was living in my car. Needless to say, I was down on my luck. My therapist strongly suggested that I become a client of The Hospitality House. I was fortunate enough to get a bed and for the next few weeks I would learn more about life. This was my first and hopefully last shelter. As shelters go it was clean and well managed. Most of the clients are extremely respectful of your privacy and the staff although young, is well trained to handle any crisis. I was able again to meet some fascinating people with poignant stories about the state of affairs that we all seem to be humbled in.I was amazed at the care and concern that was shown to me. Sonya and Marny took an interest in me. Both of these ladies honored my story and really went the extra mile with me. I will always have fond memories of The Hospitality House. I still return two or three times a week to holler at my friends. Thank You, Home, for Sheltering the Needy and Doing the Will of the Good
My summer at Hospitality House was one of experience, insight, and empathy. Despite working and volunteering at soup kitchens before, I had never spent time at a non-profit that tackles homelessness as radically as Hospitality House. This was the factor that drew me in the most and inspired me to apply for a summer internship.
Despite my awareness of Hospitality House’s mission and in my opinion elevated way of helping our local homeless community, I was still surprised at the sheer volume of work it took to achieve such an ambitious goal. Every Sunday over the summer I would drive to the two Food Lions in our area to pick up their supply of weekly donations. Week after week I would load boxes upon boxes of fresh produce, dairy, meat, bread, and dessert into my car, feeling the hundreds of pounds weigh on my car as I drove around curves and down hills. Unloading was always a bigger struggle than loading, as finding room for all of our new goods can be quite the challenge. Many afternoons were spent sorting through new and old produce alike, and even as I got used to the process, the sheer volume of food that came through our doors was still surprising.
As I carried boxes into the pantry, residents would stop by to chat, some even offering to help unload with me. I always loved these interactions. The symbiotic relationship between the staff and clients at Hospitality House was something I did not expect but was pleasantly surprised to discover. It was in these moments, arms full of frozen hamburgers and iceberg lettuce, that I felt the most close to our clients. Conversations happened easily, with comments either being made about the amount of food or what was going to be made with the donations. I loved days when Food Lion would give me bouquets, as passing out flowers to residents and clients always seemed to brighten their days, with many of them commenting how their flowers would look perfect in their rooms. It was times like these when I felt most comfortable in my internship, and though offering a flower is a small gesture, I always left feeling as if I had made a difference, even if just for that day.
This past summer at Hospitality House has opened my eyes in ways I could not have imagined. It is an experience I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to have, and I know as I continue in college and graduate this spring, I will not forget the lessons learned here- lessons full of compassion, understanding, and respect for others.
I am so thankful to have gotten to spend my summer at Hospitality House
I never once thought I would be interning at the Hospitality House. Growing up, I was told that the Hospitality House is where many who are experiencing homelessness seek shelter in. I remember hearing negative rumors and being so scared to walk past the Hospitality House as I was taking a shortcut to return to the high school. This all changed when I stepped foot into the building and slowly began getting to know the residents better.
One day, I had asked Todd for permission to work on the bulletin board just outside the back office and he had said yes. My main goal was to catch the attention from both the older and younger residents all while making sure they would stop and read the information for their own benefit. While working on the board I never expected to have many residents walk up to me to just to chat. Through chatting, I had the privilege of becoming acquainted with the residents. Many told me about their childhood, family they had, or even vented to me about their current situation.
The more I worked on the bulletin board, the more residents came up to me to talk. I started looking forward coming to the Hospitality House just to speak to the residents. One day, while I was working on the bulletin board, I saw a woman who I recall used to always sit beside me in the AppalCart freshman year when I was going back and forth between high school, Caldwell Community College and my internship. Every time she would walk in the bus, check if I was there, and sit next to me and just chatter about anything going on in her life. As she called out to me, we suddenly remembered each other and began to have a conversation.
As she was venting and catching me up on her life, I remember wishing there was more I could do for her and the other residents than just doing tasks around the Hospitality House. But then I realized a lot of the residents that approached me were not asking for anything of me, but instead they only wanted to talk and let all their feelings out. Sometimes, just listening is all somebody might need.
Hospitality House means humility. This place means no one is left behind and no one is left to do life alone. Hospitality House means family. Thinking about a traditional homeless shelter, you often think of 1-2 meals a day, possible sleeping arrangements for nightly use, and a shower that could be utilized throughout the week. That is why Hospitality House is not traditional. While we have meals, beds, and showers, we also have staff and interns who care about clients' mental health, resources to help get employment opportunities, unlimited basic necessities needed for a comfortable living situation, and people within the facility always willing to listen and talk with.
Once I found out I was going to have the privilege of interning at Hospitality House, I was not sure what I should be expecting throughout my experience. I knew if I came into this position with an open mind and willingness to learn new skills, I would be smooth sailing. I adapted quickly, I found that I did not need to be so reserved and always have my guard up. The clients we tend to every day are regular people and deserve the amount of respect I would give to my friends and family. I was not an authority figure, I was an outlet for a good conversation, a daily check-in, a kitchen deep clean, or a nice pot of gumbo :).
I was fortunate enough to be able to divvy up my internship time by working in the front and back of this facility. The front desk taught me to stay busy, there is always something to do whether it is checking in on a client outdoors or picking up a few towels by that bathroom, something can always be done. I learned to expand my communication skills, greet people when they are coming by and they may just tell you how their day is going. I acquired listening skills that will take me through the rest of my life, hear someone out before you judge them and assess the scene after you are done listening. During my time in the kitchen, I learned the importance of time management and multi-tasking. The day will go by much smoother if you can do multiple things at once while still remaining focused. I learned mass organization skills. For example, if I forgot to put a bag of onions on the top of a basket in the Bodega, more than likely they would have an abundance of oranges piled on top of them the next day. Most importantly, I learned that using skills such as cooking to serve others is a true form of happiness for me.
These last 10 weeks at Hospitality House will forever be engraved in my brain for the rest of my days. I thank everyone I had the opportunity to work with and grow friendships with. I wish you all the best and a healthy (COVID-19 Free) year!
All the best,
Grace E. Courville
Walking in through the doors at Hospitality House for the first time at the beginning of the summer I had two things going through my head. "It is really hot in here" and "wow this place looks nothing like I envisioned". For lots of Criminal Justice majors doing an internship at a shelter instead of with law enforcement is something not done by many. With Covid-19 restricting many law enforcement agency's from taking interns, I ended up at the doors of Hospitality House for my internship. This internship helped me in ways that I will always remember, and it completely changed the way I view the world.
I was presented with a variety of tasks during the summer, including working the food pantry, working in the kitchen, and sometimes tasks that required some heavy lifting. Overall though not everyday was the same, as everyday brought in new sets of challenges, and new people to watch over. Like a traditional homeless shelter everyday there would be new faces eager to be helped out, and each one of those people required different things from Hospitality House.
Hospitality House forever changed the way I look at the homeless population. Before I believed that homeless people where homeless because of their own unwillingness to work. While that might be true for some of the homeless population, Hospitality House taught me that the most of these people are homeless because of many complex different factors. Some physically can't work, and some have serious mental issues that hinder them from living a normal life. A lot of it has to do with the area these individuals live in. In a college town with nothing but student housing, where are these individuals supposed to live. Even if they could live in the student apartments, a lot of people can't afford 1,000 dollars a month for a one bedroom apartment. Hospitality House changed the way I view the homeless population and it also helped me become more aware if a certain city or town is doing what it has to do in helping lower the homeless population.
I think that there are many ways that people can help a community, and not all of them have to be grand gestures that restructure how we live or think. I think that every effort helps, but what is most important is that an effort is made, and when that effort is made there is great satisfaction that can be drawn from it. This summer, I worked as a sociology intern at Hospitality House, spending most of my time behind the front desk and interacting with our clients. Though that is not all I did, I spent time working in the pantry and in the kitchen as well and doing various other tasks that were required of me.
It was not always glamourous work, and as someone with serious social anxiety, working at the front desk really pushed me beyond my comfort level. But I truly do think it was worth it, I will not lie and say that every day was amazing, to do so I think would undermine the experience and the lessons I learned, and without challenge growth cannot take place.
I truly believe that working here has given me perspective and deepened my capacity for patience and empathy. It has given me many things to think about and to reflect on in future years.
And in working here I was able to meet some truly wonderful people. The environment was very inviting and friendly. I think without such an atmosphere I would not have been able to take away as much. And it was not just the staff who made the environment so welcoming, many of our clients were wonderful as well. Several made a habit of bringing us flowers to decorate the front desk with. There was one client who, when I was doing chores away from the desk, had a long conversation with me and told me all about their life and their experiences. Working with people who have such different experiences than I has done much to change how I see things and the world we live in.
Passion is key when interning or working for a non-profit. This past summer I was blessed to be the non-profit management intern and this experience has been nothing short of amazing. As the non-profit management intern I was able to experience full circle the ins and outs of Hospitality House. Somedays I would work at the front desk and meet clients, other days I would be packaging envelopes to send to donors. A majority of the time I worked in the kitchen preparing meals or sorting food in the pantry. Another one of my top experiences was going to different hotels in the Boone area to see if they would be willing to donate leftover/unused breakfast items to serve to the clients at Hospitality House. Once again passion is key. This internship has not been the easiest, but it sure has been the most eye opening and rewarding job I have had the opportunity to be a part of.
It has been a pleasure serving this summer at Hospitality House. It has been nothing but bright faces and joyous smiles. Walking into Hospitality House never failed to put a smile on my face. Whether I was tired or just not in the happiest mood, the moment I stepped foot in the building and one of the staff members or clients smiled, waved, or welcomed me with open arms, my mood would do a 180 and I felt a sense of joy and comfort.
My most fond memory of the summer was one Saturday afternoon when a client walked up to me after I took a quick break from sorting the pantry. The client greeted me with a warm smile and offered me the most beautiful necklace. When choosing one of their necklaces, I picked out the most colorful one so that I could always keep up with it and remember this special moment. Little did I know, when choosing this necklace, there was a cross charm at the end of the necklace. We both smiled at one another and I thanked them for this special gift. Little do they know that moment meant everything to me, and would be apart of my call story.
For the past couple of years, I have had this passion serving and working alongside those experiencing homelessness. Although I personally have never experienced homelessness, those who have, who've I had the opportunity to speak with have the most raw and genuine heart. They have taught me more life lessons than I could ever possibly experience outside of speaking with them. The necklace that now hangs in my rearview mirror not only reminds me of the client who gave me the necklace, but is a constant reminder of my calling to serve. I once heard this quote that reads "I hold your heart in my heart always." That's exactly what Hospitality House means to me. Every staff, intern, and client have a special place in my heart always and are the reason I am following my calling.
Hi! My name is Alex Yakhontov and I interned at Hospitality House for part of my Public Health degree program. My time at Hospitality House as an intern has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life so far. Finding an internship felt like a daunting task and I am so glad I got to intern at Hospitality House. I was very nervous about what this internship would hold for me, and working with a population I did not have much experience with, but I quickly became comfortable with all of the residents and clients. I loved being able to make connections with clients and have meaningful conversations which opened my eyes to how many of us are close to experiencing homelessness or food insecurity ourselves. I mostly worked in the food pantry and kitchen which showed me just how much goes into feeding our clients and residents each day. I loved working in the food pantry because I got to talk to so many different people day in and day out, and it was very rewarding to help those struggling with food insecurity and seeing their gratitude. From interacting with clients, to putting away hundreds of pounds of food, to making food boxes, and sorting through produce, I will always cherish my time here as an intern and wish I could have stayed longer. I will miss the other interns who worked with me this summer and all of the staff, and just wanted to say thank you for making this a great experience and for all that you do!
Misinformed, Neglected, and strung along in "rapid rehousing" program, for 8 months! A Victim of Domestic Violence, brings in the most funding.
"Abused Women's Lives, Don't Matter"
Hello everyone. My name is Tanner Wilson and I am a Criminal Justice major with a minor in Psychology at Appalachian State University. In my last semester of college, I had the honor of being an intern at Hospitality House of Northwest NC. This experience has been absolutely amazing and helped me grow so much. I was able to grow as an individual and gained so many real-life experiences that will help me in the future. The relationships I was able to build with everyone involved are something I will always cherish. Interning here has opened my eyes to challenges that I was ignorant of before. Thankfully now, I am aware of these ongoing challenges and look forward to helping in the future. I would recommend this internship to anyone because of how much it will change your life.
I can not thank Hospitality House enough for giving me the opportunity to intern here this semester. It has been an experience that I will never forget.
The 2020/21 pandemic of Covid-19 has affected many individuals, affecting their life negatively. There were both negative and positive events in my personal life throughout this past year, however, I am so grateful for this pandemic because it brought me to the Hospitality House of Northwest North Carolina where I was a nonprofit management intern this semester. It truly was a blessing in disguise to intern at this wonderful place with AMAZING people.
One thing that I experienced that I do not believe I would experience anywhere else is that I was able to wear a ton of hats. As a non-profit management intern, I was not only working with the director of development and learning about the management aspect of the Hospitality House, but had opportunities to learn from the shelter associates, in the kitchen and pantry, and at scattered sites. In short, I was not “locked into” one job function-- I was able to gain experience throughout the Hospitality House. One day I was sending out “thank you” notes to top donors, the next day I was cheffin’ it up in the kitchen for dinner, and the next day I was putting together a bed for a new family. I truly gained SO much because I had the unique opportunity to learn about not only this organization but also about myself.
I have learned so much about the Hospitality House and how much it means to the residents and the community of Boone. There are many preconceived notions about the Hospitality House, the one being that it is just a homeless shelter. But it is WAY more than that. It is a place to call home, it is a place to rebuild, it is a place to become stronger, it is a place to gain opportunities, it is a place that makes the community of Boone, and it is a place that has had one of the biggest impacts on my life.
Overall, I have grown so much as a person during this internship. I have loved working with a smaller nonprofit like Hospitality House because I have formed great relationships with the staff, clients, and my fellow interns. I have only been at the Hospitality House for a semester, but the group of people I interned with has become family. I am very happy with where I ended up--this place will forever be in my heart!!
I never imagined that my time as an intern at the Hospitality House would have such a significant influence on my future career, but I will carry the interactions and experiences I had with me for the rest of my life. No matter what duty I was tasked with, I was always presented with a new challenge that encouraged me to expand my mind and think differently than I had ever previously considered. I was placed outside of my comfort zone on multiple occasions, and I engaged in conversations that I was unprepared to have. However, those difficult situations taught me more about myself as a person and allowed me to reflect on my decision to pursue medicine.
Prior to interning at the Hospitality House, I never realized the importance of time. My busy days would fly by, and I would never take time to cherish the moments that I had with others because I was so preoccupied with my to-do list. However, the residents at the Hospitality House reminded me how fragile life is: one day you could be having a cheerful conversation with someone and the next day you could find them in a state of crippling depression. I have learned that for vulnerable populations, every day is a battle and time cannot be taken for granted. Through assisting with the health clinic, I have also recognized the interconnectivity of homelessness, mental health, and chronic disease, and I have come to understand the need for consistent and trustworthy medical providers in underserved areas.
My greatest takeaways from this past semester have not only been the relationships I have formed with the other interns and staff members at the Hospitality House, but the bonds I have created with the residents as well. As the health intern, I witnessed first-hand how impactful the establishment of trust can be on someone who is going through a difficult season of life. I was able to see how my willingness to listen to their narratives and validate their concerns showed them that I cared about their well-being, and as a result, they had faith in my words and recommendations. Above all else, my time as an intern showed me that people from all walks of life have the potential to formulate relationships and engage in meaningful conversations. It introduced me to different caring professions and confirmed the need for cross disciplinary interactions and systemic change. As a healthcare professional in the future, I will commit my practice towards advocating for those that need it most. I will engage with my community and consistently think about how to best serve those around me.
My name is Britney Utt and I am a Criminal Justice major at Appalachian State University. The last required thing for me to do to graduate was doing a full-time internship so I started looking in the fall semester of 2020. Due to COVID-19, finding an internship was hard and one of my last chances was Hospitality House. I didn’t know much about this organization before my interview, so I decided to do a lot of research to be prepared for the interview. I think that all of the other organizations did not work out for a reason because I think I was meant to be at Hospitality House this semester! Since I am a full-time intern, I learned quickly how things run at Hospitality House and I also learned to never take a silence moment for granted.
I was very nervous going into this internship due to the fact that I have never worked with this population before. My nerves quickly went away because I was so welcomed by the staff here at Hospitality House and the residents. Throughout my time here, I learned much more than I could have ever imagined. I met so many amazing people including the residents at Hospitality House, the staff members, and also my fellow interns. I have made so many amazing memories and I will cherish them forever. If you are thinking of applying for an internship… you should, I promise it will change your life!
I have been an intern at The Hospitality House of Northwest NC and it has been one of the most wonderful experiences. The staff care so much for their clients and it has been clear to see from day one. Whether it be through food services, housing, the health clinic or any other resource provided, they do it with a full heart. I am beyond amazed by the work that this organization does for this community and am so lucky to have been a part of it the past few months. The staff and clients are both so wonderful and I cannot find the words to say how great this organization truly is.
For the past two years of college I was fortunate enough to volunteer with Hospitality House working in the kitchen, cooking and serving meals to residents. Prior to March of 2020 I was coming in every other Sunday to prepare meals, and it was one of my absolute favorite things to do. I remember those first few months of 2020 starting to push myself to not only come in and serve a meal, but to come in and have a meal with the people I was serving. Which the opportunity presented itself to do far more than just sit down and eat with the clients of Hospitality House in the Spring of 2021.
I knew that it was important to really dive in and make meaningful connections during my time interning. I was incredibly fortunate to get the opportunity to intern at Hospitality House, as a recreation management major, it definitely seemed a little out of place, however I went in with the intention to create opportunities for clients of Hospitality House to do things that could spark their joy. For me, recreation, getting outside, and just finding hobbies I enjoy have had such a positive impact on my life and my mental health, and I recognize my privilege in my access to those things and being able to have the time to do those things. I wanted to find ways to create those opportunities for Hospitality House clients.
I was able to organize a tie dye day for residents where we dyed bags, shirts, socks, and bandanas. The event was supposed to start at 11 am, when we got out there to set up people were ready to go an hour early and most people spent all day outside tie dying with us or just hanging out. One client who spent the entire afternoon tie dying said to me, “if I wasn’t here doing this, I don’t know what trouble I would be getting into,” another resident had never tie dyed before and I have seen them in their shirt several times since the event happened.
Two years ago, I had never sat down with the people I was serving at Hospitality House, I was nervous, it was something that put me outside of my comfort zone. Now I find myself wanting to be at Hospitality House, talking to the clients, getting to know them, hearing about their stories and their days. It has been an invaluable experience to be a part of. I will talk to anyone who will listen about my experiences at Hospitality House and how import it is to share compassion without conditions.
I was an intern at Hospitality House in 2021, and it was one of the best experiences of my life! I came in with little knowledge of what I would be doing there. The first day I came in, I was greeted with the warmest smiles and laughs from clients and staff. I spent the next 4 months going every chance I could get to help document all the amazing things that were going on at Hosp House. I met clients and staff members that profoundly changed the way I look at the world. They encouraged me to be the best, most creative, and compassionate person I can be! I'm lucky to be a friend of Hosp House.
I’ve been involved with HH for 20 years or more. I love that they have one of the kitchen tables from the old King Street location hanging on the wall because it represents continuity and persistence in pursuing their mission - to help folks find their way again. That can be an incredibly hard and complex task. So, how do you do it? As Todd Carter said to me one day, “do for one what you would do for the many.” I love that. Many of us may have grandiose dreams about doing great things for wide swaths of humanity, but the practical truth is that lives are changed one person at a time. HH has been really great to allow us to reach into their population in a number of ways. We show up one evening a month to cook a meal. We also show up on Sunday mornings (pre-Covid) to cook pancakes and sausage then follow that up with a church service for any who may want to stick around. We call it Hope Church @ Hospitality House. It is humbling to hear and see residents pray and care for one another. That has been really rewarding and I miss the heck out of it during this season of coronavirus. Anywhichway, God bless all the staff and volunteers and residents @ HH - it’s a good work you’ve got going.
I am very impressed with the outreach of the hospitality house. They are very welcoming and provide care while maintaining their dignity
I began volunteering with my church St Mary of the Hills Episcopal We have 5 teams who prepare dinner one night a week during the month. It has been a real privilege to work with the folks at HH and to get to know the people they serve
We have been involved as supportive volunteers at the Boone Hospitality House for more than 15 years. We have brought donated foods, have provided holiday meals, have sponsored job preparation training, and most recently been helping plate meals during COVID-19 challenges. The Hospitality House cares so-o-o-o-o-o-o much and makes a H-U-G-E difference in our community. The staff rocks! It is a fun experience to volunteer. We always are made to feel that our "little" is M-U-C-H!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I am proud to be a recent addition to the Board of Directors of Hospitality House, serving since January 1, 2020. After my retirement three years ago and my move to Northwest NC, I took my time in looking for a non-profit to which I could voluntarily contribute my years of experience working in the non-profit world. My experience has been in the area of small local and regional non-profits providing programs and services to those in crisis. I looked for excellence, compassion and kindness, integrity, and fiscal responsibility--I found all of that in Hospitality House. The philosophy of service within this organization is centered in Respect and Kindness. Respect and Kindness is extended through the design of the programs and services provided to people with food and shelter insecurity and through the daily interactions of staff and volunteers with the residents and clients of the programs, as well as through the interactions of staff and volunteers with each other and with the public. Hospitality House is responsive and adaptive to the needs of the communities and people they serve. This responsiveness, together with the respect and kindness inherent in all they do, has made this an organization of excellence.
Hospitality House has helped countless individuals and families in the High Country. The staff are professional and personable, and always willing to help. My time spent at Hospitality House as a volunteer has been extremely rewarding. Hospitality House is more than a shelter- it is a place where clients and residents come to gain resources and are treated with dignity and respect. The services Hospitality House provides are varied- including a shelter, a food pantry, prevention services, counseling, and sustainability in the form of their very own organic garden. Hospitality House works hard to pair a volunteer with meaningful work that the volunteer is interested in. I could not recommend this agency enough!
After moving to NC and settling in with the community of the High Country, I was pleased to join a Bread of Life team from St. Mary’s church, headed by Marg McKinney. Marg had been cooking and serving meals through Bread of Life for 32 years. She showed us how to select menus, communicate with team members and HH staff and show up with good cheer each month on our appointed day and enjoy serving our neighbors with friendliness and fellowship. What better way to join a community, to meet new people, join a group for an authentic purpose, and receive so much appreciation from HH patrons and staff. I am amazed at how much is accomplished at HH, with the numbers they serve. Through compassionate staff and dedicated leaders, Hospitality House is a bedrock for those who need it most. I am proud of this community for supporting such a long lasting resource and heralding others to join the cause. Even in the hardest of economic times, Hospitality House stands solid. It is an example of American values of pull together and get it done. So glad to be a part.
For over eight years now, I have been part of a church community that supports the work of Hospitality House of NWNC - through Bread of Life and Food Pantry offerings, through gathering of needed supplies, or actively supporting the staff through Hearts of Hospitality, an auxiliary group. I am now serving my second term on the Board of Directors. I continue to serve because of the dedication of the staff who believe and live the mission and values of Hospitality House. Each person is a guest and treated equally, regardless of their circumstances or needs. Each person is assessed not only for their needs, but for their strengths and abilities to move forward, with identification of what skills or resources are needed to support the person or family as they move from shelter needs to living independently. . The administrative staff are tireless in reaching out to the seven counties, not only seeking financial support, but more importantly educating the public as to the reality of of those with food and shelter insecurities. Hospitality House of NWNC is a shelter agency - that is they offer a multi-disciplined approach to each person or family to help them live successfully as independently as possible.
I have been involved with Hospitality House for about 5 years, first as a garden volunteer and later as a board member. The staff here is amazing--they are some of the most caring individuals I have ever encountered. They always go the extra mile to make sure the families who use Hospitality House services are as safe and secure as possible. All clients are treated with respect and care. I cannot imagine how this community could be without the presence of Hospitality House. Thank you to all who serve there!
I am amazed at all the people Hospitality House is able to serve in our community. I know people personally that this organization has given a hand up and helped them from homelessness to productive, self sustaining citizens in our community. It is not just a band aid but an organization full of resources and amazing support given in dignity and love. I am so grateful to be a part of such a wonderful organization.