Woman’s music ministry comforts and feeds Ashe County’s hungry

Woman’s music ministry comforts and feeds Ashe County’s hungry

WEST JEFFERSON, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — Music is one way folks get fed around West Jefferson.

“That is Ashe County; there’s music in the veins of these people,” Catherine Steele Massey said.

Sometimes, it’s four chords; other times, it’s barely noticeable and easily overlooked. But, it can fill the spaces of every moment of every day.

“One little thing could give people hope that could change their life.”

As a professional musician, Catherine has lived her life listening.

Currently, she’s focused on a living room jam session with friends. But even then, that sound sneaks in. It’s one she hears clearly through the music.

“Did you call about some food today?” Catherine asked while picking up her phone. “Okay, just let me know, honey. We’re here for you.”

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The rain ticks like a metronome, keeping pace as she runs the roads of Ashe County. She knows the area by heart. Once she got her first phone call, she drove down almost every street here.

“I was hungry a lot, but you get used to it,” she said.

Years ago, while working as a single mom, Catherine made sure her kids had food while she did not. She felt all alone in that quiet.

“I was alone,” said Catherine.

She’s not anymore. Once she heard about the scale of hunger in Ashe County, she knew she needed to do something.

“They don’t give that much for social security, they don’t give much,” said Jerry.

It’s just a cardboard box, but it’s full of food provided by Catherine’s non-profit, ‘Musicians Mission of Mercy.’ Through music, Catherine and others raise money to feed the thousands of people in Ashe County who go hungry each month.

Jerry is one of the seniors Catherine visits with, giving her food and company.

“That’s a calling,” said Jerry. “You’re an angel. I love you, Catherine.”

It can be a voice on the phone, played on a fiddle, or strummed on a guitar… but you never forget what hope sounds like.

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