On New Year’s Day, the Yadkin Valley Rotary Club held a fundraising feast at the First United Methodist Church. The traditional meal of country ham, black-eyed peas, cornbread and collard greens was served with the assistance of students from the Elkin High School Interact Club, a junior version of Rotary.
Senior Samantha Cozart has worked at the New Year’s Day fundraiser for all four years of high school. “I just like helping out with Rotary and seeing everyone,” said Cozart. “It gets easier because you get familiar with everyone.”
Recent graduate Kennedy Freeman agreed, “I actually get to enjoy eating with my family this year. I love how each aspect represents something for the New Year,” Freeman explained. Black-eyed peas will make the consumer lucky, pork will bring wealth and abundance, and greens are said to bring gains for each bite.
Organizing this yearly event is a shared responsibility. “Everyone sort of has a part,” explained Rotary member and Pastor of Elkin Methodist Mark Barden. “Everyone knows what they need to do and they do it.”
Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital was of significant assistance through Rotary member and Food Services Coordinator Warren Bates. “They’re very generous in providing things for us,” stated Barden.
The nearly 80 bags of collard greens were provided by Walmart due to the efforts of Rotary member and employee Trent Holbrook. According to Barden, the collard greens are “quite popular. I’m not much of a collard greens eater, but these are out of this world. Quite a few people take several bags home.”
Andrew Mackie of Yadkinville was excited to be a part of this local tradition, particularly enjoying the greens. “Mayor [Sam] Bishop invited us,” said Mackie. “I love getting to see the familiar faces and the food, especially the collard greens.”
Seven-year-old Brenna Myers was not quite as sure about the greens stating that the ham was her favorite part.
“There are some folks who come every year,” stated Barden, explaining that friends who rarely get together look forward to seeing one another at this event. “Some people come early and stay.”
All the money raised from the price of the meal and the collard greens goes to the Rotary scholarship fund. These community service-based scholarship funds are for students of East Wilkes, Elkin and Starmont high schools.
Beanie Taylor can be reached at 336-258-4058 or on Twitter @TBeanieTaylor.