The six schools in the Owen District — Black Mountain Primary, Black Mountain Elementary, W.D. Williams Elementary, Owen Middle School, Owen High School and Community High School — got a helping hand from a Swannanoa Valley nonprofit organization on Sept. 16. 

Hand in Hand of the Swannanoa Valley, a nonprofit dedicated to helping meet the basic needs of area students, presented guidance counselors from the schools with a check for $10,700.

The organization, which was established by retired Swannanoa Valley Christian Ministry Executive Director Lois Nix and the Tabernacle United Methodist Church in 2006, meets with the six counselors each semester to receive reports on needs in their respective schools. Hand in Hand volunteers raise the money to help address those needs with events like its Aug. 23 hamburger lunch at Grove Stone Baptist Church. 

The lunch, which included items purchased and prepared by the organization's volunteers, raised around $2,500 for the Owen District, according to Nix. Hand in Hand volunteers met at Tabernacle United Methodist the Friday before the school year began to fill new backpacks, donated to the organization from various churches, businesses and individuals, with school supplies. Hundreds of back packs, each filled with age-appropriate supplies, were delivered to the schools to be given to students whose families could not afford them. 

Hand in Hand, in its 13-year existence, has given over $230,000 to students in the Owen District, including $20,000 in contributions last school year.  

The organization's board presented the six counselors, who were in attendance at its September meeting, with a check for the first semester of 2019-20. 

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