Past Events

Education and Literacy Recruitment Drive

Civic Engagement Committee Call to ActionVolunteer Recruitment Event  OLLI's Civic Engagement Committee's  "Education and Literacy Recruitment Drive" will take place on Monday, September 15, 2014, 4:15 pm in the Manheimer Room at the Reuter Center.Plan to attend this event to learn how you can make a difference for the next generation of lifelong learners by volunteering in the Asheville City Schools. We will discuss scheduled training sessions for tutors, mentors, and classroom assistants to be conducted by the Asheville City Schools Foundation. 
You will be able to hear from OLLI members who are volunteering, from VISTA workers who know the value of volunteer efforts, and from representatives of the Asheville City School Foundation.For more information contact OLLI staff member Laurel Jernigan at

A Life’s Work: What Bees Do and What We Can DoWith Laurey Masterton of Laurey's Catering

Tuesday, September 24, 4:30 - 6:30pm in the Manheimer Room at the Reuter Center

For the final symposium in the four-part series focusing on food insecurity in WNC, we will hear about the importance of bees in food production.

Laurey Masterton is  beekeeper, proprietor of Laurey’sCafé, chef/spokesperson for The National Honey Board, and author of The Fresh Honey Cookbook: 84 Recipes from a Beekeeper’s Kitchen (to be released in September 2013). Laurey willspeak about food insecurity and “what bees do and what we do…both making life possible.” Come learn why a healthy bee population is so integral to our local food supply.

What We Know Can Kill Us: Hunger, Obesity, and Policy Gaps in the USA

April 9, 2013 
4:15 - 5:45p.m.
Reuter Center Room 102A

Dr. Batada's talk will highlight the connections between food insecurity and obesity in the USA and the significant costs to our society.  At the heart of the issue is the importance of healthy food over any food, and the role of government and corporate policies to support healthy choices.  She will discuss how policies pertaining to school foods, marketing, labeling, and taxation are outdated compared to current nutrition and social sciences, and how we can take action personally and politically to reduce and prevent obesity and improve access to and consumption of healthy foods in our communities.

Ameena Batada, DrPH, is an assistant professor in the Health and Wellness Department at the University of North Carolina Asheville.  Dr. Batada teaches courses on health parity, maternal and child health, community health promotion, and health communication.  Her research focuses on the influence of media on nutrition and health, particularly among children, as well as on community health issues and interventions.  Before joining UNCA, she was director of education, research, and outreach at Sesame Workshop India in New Delhi, and prior to that she worked at the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), advocating for limits on junk-food marketing to children and for national school nutrition standards.  Dr. Batada holds a DrPH in health communication from the department of population and family health sciences at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, an MPH in maternal and child health with a certificate in international health from UNC Chapel Hill, and a BA in international studies from UNC Chapel Hill.  Dr. Batada lives in Asheville with her husband, father-in-law, two sons, and terrier mix, and she enjoys cooking, hiking, yoga, and printmaking.

Service Opportunity: "Hands On" Healthy Cooking

Date: April 23, 2013
Shift 1 - 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
 Shift 2 - 1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
UNC Asheville Sherill Center Testing Kitchen, Room 346

OLLI members are invited to volunteer at the Sherrill Center Test Kitchen on UNC-Asheville’s campus. There, volunteers will learn about the Rainbow In My Tummy program, and its impact on child-hood nutrition. Be part of the effort to test current RIMT recipes that will be shared with families and new recipes that will be incorporated into the program, benefitting young children.

Rainbow In My Tummy:
The mission of the Rainbow In My Tummy® program is to improve the quality of food served to young children. Through nutrition awareness and consumption of diverse, healthy, nutritious foods when tastes are first formed in young children, lifelong preferences for fresh, non-processed food choices are promoted. The likelihood of obesity and obesity related diseases now and in the future is reduced. What an incredible gift to give our children!

Rainbow In My Tummy® menus and recipes:
1. Increase the consumption of high-quality, nutritious whole foods 
2. eliminate ingredients such as trans-fats and high fructose syrup from the diet
3. minimize salt and sugar intake
4. and increase intake of essential vitamins and minerals through a diet rich in a “rainbow of colors.

More Information:
Rainbow in My Tummy website

Report on Feburary 20 Service Project at MANNA FoodBank

A Call to Action: Fighting Hunger

On February 12th, an overcapacity audience attended the first Call to Action Symposium on “Hunger in WNC,” presented by Cindy Threlkeld, Executive Director of MANNA.

Subsequently, a follow-up Call to Action event took place on February 20th at MANNA FoodBank. Twenty-eight volunteers assembled MANNA Packs, arranged and packaged small sacks of rice, and sorted peppers and eggplant and squash.  The group accomplished the following:

  • 1,080 Manna Packs were created to feed at-risk elementary school children.
  • 1,060 bags of rice were repackaged to feed hungry families.
  • 2,500 pounds of squash, potatoes and eggplant were sorted resulting in 1,500 pounds of fresh vegetables going to families. The other 1,000 pounds (spoiled vegetables) will be distributed to local farmers who feed it to their livestock, resulting in zero waste.  

The CEC’s 2013 goal is to accomplish two things within our OLLI membership.

  • One, to raise awareness through symposia, such as this one, to the alarming, yet not visible, hunger that exists among individuals, families and children.
  • Secondly, we're asking OLLI members to join us as we get our hands dirty, fighting hunger here in Asheville.

During the balance of the year, we'll be presenting topics on food waste, malnutrition, childhood obesity, and its effects on student performance in our schools. You'll be hearing about Food Deserts, community and children's gardens, SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly food stamps), and many of the local volunteer groups supporting healthy food and sustainable agriculture.

Our hope is to cause something to happen, to create a sustainable approach to addressing the topics of hunger, of food waste and childhood obesity, with the direct hands-on activities of our members and the possibility of changing public policy!

OLLI members volunteering at MANNA


“Hunger in WNC” 

MANNA FoodBank

Featuring Cindy Threlkeld,
Manna Food Bank Executive Director

Date: Tuesday February 12, 2013, 2:30 p.m.
Location: Reuter Center Room 206

Followed by an opportunity to learn about ways to engage and involve OLLI members with volunteer opportunities and hands-on Projects during 2013.

Service Opportunity:  A "Hands-On" Primer on Hunger

Date:  Wednesday, February 20, 9 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. 
  MANNA FoodBank, 627 Swannanoa River Road Asheville, NC 28805

OLLI has partnered with Hands-On Asheville Buncombe and MANNA FoodBank to offer an engaging service opportunity addressing the issue of hunger in our community.  After listening to Cindy Threlkeld's talk on the hunger issues facing WNC, come be part of the community work to alleviate hunger! On February 20th, OLLI members are invited to volunteer at Manna Foodbank. Get a firsthand look at our local foodbank, learn more about its operations, and help families in need by participating in three types of “hands on” volunteer projects.

Volunteering with OLLI members is a great way to:
  • build relationships with other members with similar interests
  • achieve a big impact on hunger in one day through collective action
  • make a meaningful community connection
  • Manna Packs for Kids
  • "Bulk" food sort & repackage
  • Fresh produce sort & agency assistance
More Information
MANNA Organization Information
MANNA website
Hands-On website
Event Flyer

Hall Fletcher SchoolService Project

Date: 03/20/13
Time: 3:00pm-5:45pm

Get "Hands On" in the Garden

OLLI members are invited to volunteer at the Hall Fletcher Elementary Community Garden. Get a firsthand look at how a local school is working on the issue of hunger through gardening, learn more about the integration of the garden into student academics and help prepare the garden for springtime activities by participating in four “hands on” volunteer projects:

  • Build stacked beds/plant
  • Assemble garden markers
  • Sort seedling containers for the spring
  • Paint sides of raised bed for mural

Project Location:
Hall Fletcher Elementary School
60 Ridgelawn Road
Asheville, NC 28806

Volunteering with OLLI members is a great way to:
  • build relationships with other members with similar interests
  • achieve a big impact on hunger in one day through collective action
  • make a meaningful community connection