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Sharing Love for the Community, One Meal at a Time

Volunteer Spotlight: Jenny Jarvis

The Hunger and Health Coalition only functions as well as it does because of the help from the community and its volunteers.  


Volunteers have come and gone over the years, but one that has remained dedicated to the mission of the Hunger and Health Coalition is Jenny Jarvis. 


Jenny started volunteering with HHC toward the end of 2018. Back then, HHC’s Food Recovery program in the kitchen was run completely by volunteers. Jenny became a trusted kitchen volunteer and even became ServSafe certified to help run the kitchen correctly. Now, HHC sees her smiling face each Tuesday to assist in the kitchen.  


HHC hired Laura Buck as the Food Recovery Kitchen Coordinator in March 2022. Having an experienced volunteer in the kitchen like Jenny is invaluable to Laura to run a smooth operation. 


Laura said she takes her lunch break and can plan when to be out of the office for various tasks during the time Jenny is volunteering because she can rely on Jenny. Jenny said it’s an honor that Laura trusts her so much with the kitchen while she is away. Her favorite part of volunteering with the agency is the “fellowship” she feels with the other volunteers and the staff, she said.  


When HHC added the A Simple Gesture ongoing food drive program under its umbrella in 2019, Jenny didn’t hesitate to sign up as a volunteer driver. Every two months — or six times a year — volunteer drivers will disperse across the Watauga community and pick up food donation bags from local residents. Jenny has participated as a driver since the program’s conception, saying she just wanted to find another way to become more involved at HHC.  


Executive Director Jenn Bass said that Jenny is a beacon of light here at HHC, helping to ensure our mission is met even during COVID-19. 


“You really cannot help but smile when you are around Jenny,” Jenn said. “She attends events regularly and always shows up with the kindest heart. I have loved getting to know her through the years whether she is volunteering with ASG or when she is helping to create meals in the kitchen. I think the world would be a little bit brighter and so much funnier if we had more Jenny Jarvis’s in the world.” 

Her passion for helping the community is the reason she has spent so much time volunteering at HHC, she said.  


“For years I went to school here and had a business here and all I saw was all of the wealth,” Jenny said. “When I realized the poverty level here, I was amazed. I wanted to do something about it. I felt the need to help.” 


A Wilkesoboro native, Jenny graduated from Appalachian State University in 1989 with a bachelor’s in business. She enjoyed her time at App State as it gave her experiences and a chance to meet people outside of her small town. She moved away from Boone for some years and worked in the textile industry and owned an income tax business. She retired from the corporate workforce in 2010. She moved to the Foscoe area in 2011. 


“I knew I would make my way back one day,” Jenny said. “I knew it was home when I was in college.”  


When she isn’t volunteering at HHC, Jenny enjoys being active in her church community at Alliance Bible Fellowship, gardening, and spending time with her husband of 22 years and her family. She also claims to be the “happiest Appy” someone could meet, as she doesn’t tend to miss App State football or basketball games.  

Thank you, Jenny, for your time and dedication to HHC! 


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