Wednesday, September 27, 2017

$25,000 Grand Prix Calcutta to benefit MANNA FoodBank

New Madison County Equestrian Center at 
The Preserve at Little Pine 
hosts the grand opening event

The owners of The Preserve, a private, natural sanctuary community in Madison County, are demonstrating their commitment to helping those in need in Western North Carolina with a grand opening to benefit MANNA FoodBank. The Preserve is already guaranteeing a $10,000 donation to MANNA—enough to provide the food for 35,000 meals for families in the region experiencing hunger.

The new Equestrian Center will be unveiled at a grand opening event on Saturday, October 7, when the center hosts a $25,000 Grand Prix Calcutta. A calcutta is a form of skilled bidding on horse-and-rider teams in a live-auction setting where the auctioneer sells each team to the highest buyer. Bidders can be individuals, tables, or a group of friends. Top teams from across the Southeast will be participating, in addition to teams from Tryon, NC, and even international riders from as far as Brazil and Germany.

The local impact of this event is powerful. All auction proceeds will benefit MANNA’s mission to end hunger in WNC, and because the food bank can provide 3.5 meals for every dollar donated, 35,000 more meals will be distributed into Madison County and across WNC. And that is before the auction has even started.

“A MANNA staff person shared with me the other day,” says Jack Fisher, Founder and Chairman at Preserve Communities, “that one out of four children in Western North Carolina is deprived of the basic food needed to live a normal, healthy life. That really shocked me. It’s unacceptable.”

In Madison County alone, more than 17 percent of residents live below the poverty line. In 2016, MANNA distributed over 679,000 pounds of food to Madison County, enough to provide over 565,000 meals. Across WNC, the food bank distributed over 16 million pounds of food, enough to provide over 13.7 million meals.

“I grew up in Madison County,” says Fisher. “I know first-hand how hard it can be for families to put dinner on the table. When we were talking about the grand opening, my team asked if we can do something where we can give back—the answer was simple: Support the community that has helped make everything at the Preserve Communities possible.”

The event will feature a Southern cuisine-inspired “Mountain to Table” menu by Brian Sonoskus, Executive Chef of the Star Diner and longtime chef of Tupelo Honey; an open bar showcasing craft cocktails and moonshine tasting by Troy and Sons Distillery; and live music from award-winning guitar duo Melonbelly.

“It’s not often that the words Grand Prix and food bank find themselves in the same sentence, and that’s exactly why this opportunity for MANNA is so unique” says Alisa Hixson, Director of Corporate Engagement and Signature Events for MANNA. “It’s exciting that WNC is becoming home to such a diversity of experiences, and it’s even more exciting when they can benefit a community’s greatest asset, which is its people.”

Tickets to the event are $100, and tables for eight are $2,000. Tickets can be purchase online at or by calling 828-649-9424. Proceeds from the event will benefit MANNA FoodBank.

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