Year Round Enrollment for Dolly Parton Imagination Library – Dolly Parton is open all year to new enrollees – Click here for more information


Important Update

Matt’s Ministry has been instructed by the Health Department to conduct a DRIVE UP ONLY food distribution for Saturday. This process will be in place until we are advised that we can return to regular operations.  We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

Goodnight with Dolly: Evening Story Time with Dolly Parton beginning April 2, 2020

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library has made an exciting announcement!  For ten weeks, beginning Thursday, April 2, 2020 at 7:00 p.m. EDT, Dolly Parton will read aloud from books in her Imagination Library.  The first reading will be The Little Engine That Could.  For more information, and to tune in for story time, visit the Imagination Library website.

May 9, 2020:  Week Eight of Drive Thru Distribution

On Saturday, May 9, 2020, we served 134 families at curbside pick up.  Thank you for continuing to be patient with this process!

May 2, 2020:  Week Seven of Drive Thru Distribution

Matt’s Ministry distributed food to 134 families on Saturday, May 2, 2020.  Curbside pick up is going smoothly thanks to our great volunteers and clients!

April 25, 2020:  Week Six of Drive Thru Distribution

One hundred, thirty-four families were served at the curbside distribution on Saturday, April 25, 2020.  Below are some photos from curbside and delivery distributions during April.

April 18, 2020:  Week Five of Drive Thru Distribution

Matt’s Ministry served 134 families curbside on Saturday, April 18, 2020.  We are also making our regular deliveries and EXTRA deliveries with the help of Clay County transportation. We are extremely grateful for everyone who has helped by serving, donating and praying for our organization.

April 11, 2020:  Week Four of Drive Thru Distribution

On Saturday, April 11, 2020, Matt’s Ministry served 132 families at a safe social distance via drive thru distribution.

April 4, 2020:  Third Week of Drive Thru Distribution

On Saturday, April 4, 2020, Matt’s Ministry served 139 families at a safe social distance.  We are grateful we are still able to operate.

March 28, 2020:  Second Week of Drive Thru Distribution

Matt’s Ministry was able to serve 139 families on Saturday, March 28, 2020.  The drive thru operation went smoothly, as volunteers and clients maintained a safe social distance.  Thank you to everyone for flexibility and patience.

March 21, 2020: Adapting to COVID-19 Restrictions

On March 21, 2020, our distribution operations were converted to “drive thru,” as directed by the Clay County Health Department. While some volunteers packed food and supplies inside the building, others directed traffic and distributed food in the parking lot. Thanks to the flexibility of our great volunteers and clients, we were able to serve 139 families!

pantry, food distribution, covid-19, coronaviruspantry, food distribution, covid-19, coronaviruspantry, food distribution, covid-19, coronaviruspantry, food distribution, covid-19, coronaviruspantry, food distribution, covid-19, coronaviruspantry, food distribution, covid-19, coronaviruspantry, food distribution, covid-19, coronaviruspantry, food distribution, covid-19, coronaviruspantry, food distribution, covid-19, coronavirus


Fall/Winter 2019 Happenings

Matt’s Ministry has had a busy quarter. 

We updated our current client lists a process that required all Matt’s shoppers to redo/update their applications; added more than 25 new families to the food bank roster; participated in the December Clay County Toys for Kids program –as a sign up point for registering children for gifts; and participated in community grant writing efforts for Senior Health & Assistance projects in 2020 with United Way, Clay County Food Bank and Clay County Senior Center.

senior center

And as always received we received support from our wonderful individuals and church affiliate volunteers without which we could not continue to grow. This quarter we especially want to acknowledge and thank the following contributors:

Correction:  Our current Dolly Parton Signage was provided by ROBERT SEIBERT of Prints Plus.  Prints Plus has been a generous contributor since Matt’s opened its doors. This poster is used by Matt’s Ministry to tell the Dolly Parton Imagination Library story and is often used in conjunction with our life size Dolly Parton image – to generate smiles and program contributions at various locations in Clay County.  Thank you for all you have done and we apologize for the misinformation.


December brought the Holy Smokers and the Smokettes from the Good Shepherd Methodist Church.  On December 7 – they hosted a barbeque meal for all Matt’s clients and volunteers.  Their volunteers prepared more than 200 plates of delicious brisket, beans, cole-slaw complete with drink.   Good Shepherd’s team included Cook Wally Figueroa and Smokers’– Ric Kirchberg, Elmer Wilson, Glen Marcel, Jose Arias, and John Czernecki ; as well as Smokettes – Betsy Wilson, Mellisa Czernicki and Mary Rose Figueroa.  It was a beautiful day Thank You for sharing.

food bank 5   food bank 6


October/November 2019

clothes closet

Mike & Laurie Allen brought their quarterly clothes closet giveaway to  Matt’s Ministry the last weekend in October.

Clothing is collected by the Allens, washed, sized and made available quarterly at several locations in the county for residents.  Matt’s is honored to have the opportunity to host this vital mission periodically at the Food Bank for our clients and their families.

clothes closet 2

Fall also saw members of Fort Hembree Baptist Church volunteering their time at the Food Bank.  Members included; Pastor Harold Holbrook, Theresa Holbrook,  Lisa Carter, Betty Dorsey, Annie Lloyd, and Lori Bruce.  Thank you for sharing your time and talent.

food bank   food pantry 2

food bank 3   food pantry 4

Winter 2018 / 2019

NEW GRANTS for 2019

Matt’s Ministry was awarded two new grants that will enable it to continue its food and literacy programs in 2019.

The first was a $13,000 award from the Community Foundation of Western North Carolina’ People in Need Grant Program.   The funds will be used to purchase food for the pantry between April and August 2019; and to offer a series of Saturday cooking classes for youngsters starting in January of 2019. The cooking classes will be scheduled periodically throughout the winter, spring and early summer.   The next cooking class is scheduled  for three Saturdays – February 23, March 2 and March 9 – between 10:00 AM and 11:00 AM in the Ledford Chapel kitchen.

The second grant for Matt’s Ministry came from the Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Charlotte. The funds were given to support Matt’s Ministry literacy program The Dolly Parton Imagination Library, Clay County.   The check was presented to Matt’s Ministry and other regional winners at a ceremony at Hinton Center in November.   Sharon Hayden (Ledford Chapel), Janice Harwood (United Methodist Church) and Sister Terry Martin (Immaculate Heart of Mary) accepted the $2000.00  award on behalf of Matt’s Ministry.

The total cost of the literacy effort in Clay County is about $10,000 per year, about $27 per child per year.  As part of the program the Imagination Library sends a new book each month to registered children age birth to five years.  Matt’s distributes 430 books a month, and has sent out more than 17,000 books since the program was started in Clay County in 2014.  The family reading concept which has gone international – now operates in the US, Great Britain, Australia and Canada and distributes a million plus books a month to children.

January 2019

Six youngsters ranging in age from 8 to 13 attended the first three week cooking class in the 2019 series.  The classes are funded by a grant from Community Foundation of Western North Carolina.   Each week the chefs’ prepare a meal/recipe that can be finished at home in their own kitchens. The cooking skills practiced in this series of classes included:  recipe reading; use of cooking math; the browning of meat;  the difference between folding in and mixing a food item; and experience with peeling and coring fruits.

kids 1 kids 2 kids 3 kids 4

On Saturday February 1st, the chefs prepared  a recipe they made in class.  They prepared a TEX Mex Tamale pie recipe for food pantry clients who were able to sample the dish as they waited to shop the pantry.

kids 5 kids 6


Fall – Winter  2018

Fall has been a busy time for Matt’s Ministry.  Our Saturday Pantry is serving an average of 135 families a week, this represents a minimum of 470 people receiving food each week from pantry shelves, delivering 45 + food boxes to home bound residents and delivering another 45 weekend bags at school to children each Friday.

The next Manna Express Vegetable Extravaganza is scheduled for November 17. 2018 from 10:00 AM to Noon in our parking lot.

The reality of the ministry is that we could not do is half of what we do without our wonderful volunteers and supporters. This quarter we want to give special thanks to several businesses, individuals and organizations who support Matt’s Ministry

Signs Fast – Hayesville, NC 

   Thank You Signs Fast.  Tony Wiegold of Signs Fast has been a Matt’s supporter since the ministry began five years ago.  He and his team have provided Matt’s with the design of our logo, signage for our building, our parking lot, and our new/used Cargo van,  as well as other sign mission projects.  His most recent contribution was the signage that tells the story of the Dolly Parton Imagination Library Program.   It will be popping up around the County at various locations with information about how to enroll children and donate to the project.  The new poster was featured at the 2018 Punkin Chunkin festival, and helped Matt’s to tell the Dolly Parton Library story and generate donations for children’s  books in Clay County. Tony again many thanks to you and your staff.

Dolly news


Good Shepherd Women’s Guild

The second Thank You goes out to the Good Shepherd Episcopal Women’s group who has been providing diapers for Matt’s clients  for the past year.  Organized by Kathy Marcel. a newcomer to the area  from New Orleans,  the program provides diapers –new born to size 6 – to client families coming to the pantry.  Kathy says the project stemmed from similar programs organized after Katrina in New Orleans – when donations of diapers and paper products were in high demand.  When she and her husband relocated to Hayesville  permanently – she heard about Matt’s pantry and looked for a project that could  support Matt’s and other ministries.   The Women’s Group orders, packages and distributes the diapers to Matt’s and other projects in the County.   This is a wonderful service for clients with small children, and one that pantry resources are not typically able to provide. Thanks!

staff shelves



teen groupMatt’s Ministry is pleased to welcome a new teen group, the Rock Bottom Junior Board to the pantry.  This high school group is organized to give teens opportunities to assist other teens with issues like bullying and to perform community service.  The teens did an amazing job sorting canned goods, helping clients to their cars and adding cheerful faces to Saturday distributions





Pumpkin Chunkin – 2018

Matt’s Ministry participated in the 2018 Punkin Chunkin – October 20-21, 2018.

Matt’s volunteers set up in the Childrens’ corner and offered youngsters a chance to design a butterfly mask or color a butterfly page, as well as receive a book of their choice, at no cost.   Matt’s gave out more than 150 books over the weekend, and had a chance to tell the Dolly Parton Imagination Library (DPIL) story to many County residents.  Matt’s Ministry funds the DPIL effort in Clay County for 425 children birth to five. The cost is $25.00 a year to provide one child with a free book each month.  Books are now available in English, Spanish and Braille.  As part of the international Dolly Parton project more than one million youngsters each month receive great childhood reading.  To donate or for more information about enrollment contact Matt’s Ministry.

pumpkin chunkin


Matt’s completed its first kids cooking classes – five junior chefs were enrolled.  The Program ran Saturday mornings for four weeks June 2-23 from 10-10:45 AM.  The first class learned to cook meals using crock pots.  Our chefs ultimately made 2 main dishes; a dessert, and break/fast during the course of the class. Each participant received a crockpot, apron, bag of cooking essentials, cookbook, and certificate. , Manna Ashville, NC provided the utensils given to new chefs. 

kid chef 1     kid chef 2

On June 9th – Manna Express visited Matt’s Food Pantry.  Manna’s truck brought volumes of produce, a chef who demonstrated – frittata making – and extra fresh fruit for our kids’ weekend food bags.  During this visit Manna also made an infomercial about the Express Program which features Matt’s clients and Matt’s Ministry location.

manna express 2     march happenings 3

June  16th the Holy Smokers from Hayesville’s Episcopal Church returned to Matt’s and set up to provide hot dogs, hamburgers and an assortment of sides to Matt’s clients and volunteers.  They are wonderful cooks and more than 250 people enjoyed the meal and the fellowship.

holy smokers


Matt’s volunteers were at Hayesville on the Square – July 14th, 15th-promoting the Dolly Parton Imagination Library.  Pictured here is Sister Terry Martin,of the Sisters of Notre Dame, from Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church, Hayesville  – posing with Dolly Parton at the weekend event.  Sister was also there to deliver a $1000.00 check to Matt’s Ministry for the Dolly Parton Imagination Library.  The funds, from the Sisters of Notre Dame Education Program, will be used to purchase books for children enrolled in the Imagination Library.  This program currently serves 425 Clay county youngsters from birth to kindergarten delivering an age appropriate book to their homes each month by mail.  It is part of a multi-national reading program sponsored by Dolly Parton in conjunction with local partners across the country.  This spring Dolly Parton was honored by the US Library of Congress for her reading effort which has distributed more than 100 million books to youngsters since its inception in 1990’s.  Sister – Thank you for your generosity!

dolly parton reading

Truitt Youth Group joined  Matt’s Saturday Pantry volunteers – The Youth group will be helping out the 1st Saturday of each month.

April 20th -Matt’s honored more than 85 volunteers at its Volunteer Appreciation Dinner.  Matt’s Board did the cooking – which was Italian inspired.  Since its inception in 2013 more than 120 community residents have been involved in making Matt’s food pantry and ministry a reality.  Volunteers come from all faiths and churches.  Currently more than 125 families each week attend the Food Pantry held Saturday mornings or are one of an additional 65 families receiving food supplements by home delivery.




pantry, food distribution, covid-19, coronavirus