Hospitality House has no plans to close during new coronavirus pandemic

Abi Pepin, Reporter

Hospitality House of Northwest North Carolina is continuing to fight homelessness and poverty throughout the High Country amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The living facility, which serves an average of 11,500 meals per month, has no plans of closing during the uncertainty of the pandemic.

The Director of Development for Hospitality House Todd Carter said it is “all hands on deck right now.”

Carter said Hospitality House focuses on three different “avenues of assistance: housing, hunger relief and crisis assistance.”

“We’re trying to take care of folks that live there,” Carter said. “We’re trying to take care of folks that are hungry that live in our community and do what we can.”

As many people now work from home, Carter said that’s not an option for him and other staff.

“We don’t really have the luxury of working from home because people live where we work,” Carter said. “My office is in a house where 150 people live.”

Carter said that the operating hours will remain the same.

“We may have to eventually scale back our hours, but it’s important since we’re the only seven day-a-week food pantry in the area, that we do all we can to continue to get as much food out as possible,” Carter said.

Carter said Hospitality House is still serving three meals a day, seven days a week.

Hospitality House’s food pantry moved to only serving through the drive-thru, with everything being sent out in to-go containers. The drive-thru will remain open everyday from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

“Our crisis assistance program helps people pay for their utility bills, heating fuel, if anybody is facing eviction,” Carter said. “We still can help with these things; everything is just being moved online through email or phone. No walk-in appointments.”

Carter said staff and volunteers are following guidelines from the state, so they can still provide meals to the community. 

No one in working, volunteering or living at Hospitality House has tested positive for COVID-19.

Carter said they are in contact with the health department and Watauga Emergency Management Team weekly, sometimes even having daily phone calls.

“We are on top of it,” Carter said. “We have been working on this for over three weeks now. We are ahead; we feel good.”

Carter said the biggest thing they can use right now is students and other community members, who aren’t in the “at-risk category,” to come and volunteer from 9 a.m to 1 p.m. every day.

“This is strictly working in the kitchen,” Carter said. “It’s an isolated area in the kitchen, you won’t be working with the population.”

Carter said another way people can get involved is by donating.

“We take donations online or through Venmo,” Carter said. “We have a dedicated page on our website that has all of our needs.”

Carter said donating is the easiest way to help during this time.

“We will not let COVID-19 keep us from our mission and remain steadfast in our commitment to house, feed and assist our most vulnerable and at-risk community members,” stated in a recent public statement from Hospitality House .

Additional information on how to get involved and updates can be found at Hospitality House’s website under their COVID-19 page at