Starting this month, High Country residents can pick up the Hunger and Health Coalition’s fourth Christmas in the Mountains CD, which will support the coalition’s efforts to end childhood hunger in the region.

Christmas in the Mountains Volume 4 will feature 12 songs, all of which were donated by local artists.Paulette Isaacs is a member of Southern Accent, a local bluegrass gospel group. Southern Accent recorded “Once Upon a Star,” a song written by group member Connie Norris, for the CD.

“We enjoyed the time spent together as a group working up the song and getting the arrangement together…Christmas songs are some of the most beautiful songs out there, and we love doing them,” Isaacs said.

More than 70 businesses will carry the CD this year, project coordinator Leslie Shavell said, as opposed to 40 just four years ago.

The Hunger and Health Coalition is grateful to those businesses for donating “their expensive selling space” to the project, Shavell said.

Ben Henderson is the co-owner of Bare Essentials, a business that has carried the Christmas in the Mountains CD since the project began and that supported production of the CD this year. He said the CD always sells “very well.”

“People love it; it’s local,” Henderson said.

The CD will also be available at the Valle Country Fair on Saturday, October 16. Shavell said all four volumes will be available at the fair to give people a chance to complete their collections.

All proceeds from this year’s CD will support the “End Childhood Hunger in the High Country” initiative.

“The thought of any child being hungry is unbearable,” executive director Compton Fortuna said in a press release. “The Hunger and Health Coalition is passionate about providing food to the children who need it most.”

The coalition provides a multitude of services to ease childhood hunger. Each $10 CD purchased allows them to purchase 50 pounds of food, enough to fill a food box for a family of four. They also fill backpacks with food and deliver them to school principals, who distribute them to students who need food on the weekends. Because the food is in a backpack, children don’t have to feel embarrassed about receiving the food, Shavell said.

“Childhood hunger is just awful…there are more and more families coming in who…used to be working and now they can’t even afford to buy food. The children…are the victims of this,” Shavell said.

The Hunger and Health Coalition, which opened in 1982, is the only major food pantry and free pharmacy in the area. Need has grown immensely in recent years, Shavell said. Six years ago, the coalition was serving 2,500 families. Today the organization serves 7,600.

“We’re able to do it because of donations…the people in this community are just amazing,” Shavell said.

For more information, call the Hunger and Health Coalition at 828-262-1628.

Readers interested in contributing can send donations to Hunger and Health Coalition PO Box 1837 Boone, NC 28607. Note on the check memo line that it’s for the Christmas CD.