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SHOPPING FOR SHELTER TO SUPPORT LOCAL HOUSING NONPROFIT

West Asheville bookstore to donate a portion of every sale during the first five days of March

Next month, Firestorm Books & Coffee will partner with Community Housing Coalition (CHC) of Madison County for its inaugural “Shopping for Shelter” fundraising event. Community members are invited to support CHC’s mission to facilitate healthy, safe, and affordable housing by buying a book or other item through the bookstore’s website during the first five days of March (3/1–3/5).

Shopping for Shelter is a new Community Housing Coalition initiative modeled after the nonprofit’s Eats & Drinks for Equal Housing, a monthly fundraiser that leverages partnerships with local restaurants, cafes, and bars. The successful program, under which participating businesses donate 10% of all sales to the nonprofit, was interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic but relaunched in January with the support of Madison Natural Foods. Shopping for Shelter will build on this concept to include retail stores in Madison and Buncombe at a time when housing quality and affordability tops agendas in both counties.

“With these initiatives, we’re building relationships that move beyond transactional sponsorships into collaborative partnerships,” explains CHC Fund Development and Communications Coordinator Sy Lawing. “We’re so excited to work with mission-driven businesses like Firestorm to support safe, healthy and affordable housing in Madison County.”

Although any purchase from Firestorm Books & Coffee will generate funds for Community Housing Coalition, the nonprofit has shared a list of recommended titles that can be found on the bookstore’s website. The full list—available at firestorm.coop/chc—includes regional nonfiction like Elizabeth Catte’s What You Are Getting Wrong About Appalachia, titles that guide the work of CHC like Brene Brown’s Dare to Lead: Brave Work, Tough Conversations, Whole Hearts, and CHC staff favorites like Octavia E. Butler’s NYT bestselling science-fiction novel, Parable of the Sower.

“Growing up in Haywood County, I saw firsthand how volunteer-powered programs like CHC’s Neighbors Helping Neighbors are crucial for elderly folks and others with mobility challenges,” notes Firestorm staff member Libertie Valance. “It’s gratifying to know that money we raise in March will support the autonomy and safety of community members through repairs and accessibility improvements.”

Community Housing Coalition of Madison County is a non-profit agency that provides urgent home repairs to low-income residents in need of assistance. In 2020, CHC undertook 73 home repairs, made over 300 COVID-19 outreach calls, and oversaw 670 hours of volunteer labor to bring rural homes up to essential housing standards. chcmadisoncountync.org

Firestorm Books & Coffee is a thirteen year old collectively-owned bookstore and community event space at 610 Haywood Road. The co-op, known for its social movement-oriented book selection, has been hosting virtual events and offering contactless pickup options to local readers. firestorm.coop

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