This month's member spotlight is the extraordinary Allison Jennings, development Director for Watauga Habitat for Humanity and advisory board member for the Western Watauga Food Outreach project. At Habitat for Humanity Allison brings people together to build homes, community, and hope. She was naturally drawn to organizations that create community, which is why she loves BRWIA. Allison also has a background in food-service, having degrees in Culinary Arts and Hotel Restaurant Management.
Many people may not know this about her, but her family has lived in these mountains for more than eight generations. Allison's grandparents, Clarence Berry and Virginia Mast, met in high school in Cove Creek, and married, eventually settling in the Grandfather/Foscoe Community in the 1940s. She spent her childhood visiting her great Grandpa, Hardy Berry there, and her summers were filled with the abundance and gifts these mountains offer.
When asked about her childhood time spent here Allison says, "Summers in Watauga County are the greatest memories of my childhood. My sister, Betsy, and I along with the Townsend children would spend days roaming the mountains, picking plump blackberries that my grandmother would use to make the best blackberry jelly that would last all year. We would go across the holler and visit the Townsends, who would send freshly churned butter back to my grandmother. I remember vividly as Larkin Townsend made sweet sorghum molasses in the early fall and all the neighbors gathered to help, on a cool, dark autumn night. It was extraordinary food, and we were ordinary people."