The dream of helping others in the Hickory Nut Gorge community became a reality in 2004 when Shepherd’s Care was incorporated and became 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. Initial efforts focused on finding ways to generate funding to community members in need with food, utility bills, and medicine. The opening of the Shepherd’s Care Thrift Store, located in the rectory of Transfiguration Church, started the fundraising efforts with much success. Community member volunteers ran the Thrift Store and all of the tasks associated with it. At the same time, Shepherd’s Care also began providing Holiday Food Baskets and started the Angel Tree Gifts Program.
Fundraising efforts expanded when Shepherd’s Care took over running the Lake Lure Arts and Crafts Festival. Donations from community members, churches and businesses enabled Shepherd’s Care to help many people in need.
In 2010 the Thrift Store was closed, and the organization name changed to Hickory Nut Gorge Outreach and relocated to the current location on Memorial Highway, symbolizing the focus on helping to eliminate hunger in our community. The outstanding foundation created by Shepherd’s Care enabled Outreach to add additional services. The Food Pantry expanded to serve more residents, and the Food for Kids (FFK) and Families in Need of Support (F.I.N.S.) Programs were started.
Today, Outreach continues to serve community members while focusing on new trends in community support that may be needed. Outreach is overseen by an elected Board of Directors.