April 1, 2023

Sep. 21—Alpacas, goats, Nick the rescue cow, donkeys, pigs, and a peacock, are preparing to liven up Arise Farm on Saturday, all to the tune of live music with vendors, food trucks, children's activities, and best-selling author Steven K. Scott.
The event will be hosted by international radio and television host Scott Steel, and includes a 50/50 raffle, as well as two bouncy houses, a mechanical bull and face painting, all to raise money for those affected by the flooding brought by Tropical Storm Fred.
As Arise Farm owner Nicole Yerry started organizing the fundraiser, she wanted to make sure the money got to those who needed it. The rains of Aug. 17, 2021 fell on Yerry's birthday.
"When I'm hearing that people are still displaced and FEMA can only do so much, that doesn't sit well with me. I want to give back to the community that gave me my life back and brought me to God," Yerry said.
Yerry left a career in the medical field to start Arise Farm in 2016. She said it was a step out in faith to create a space of healing for others. Arise Farm offers programs in root cause healing with a focus on holistic medicine.
"I went from making $300,000 a year to making the decision between if I wanted to eat or keep my lights on. But I found God here, and I want to share what I've learned with people."
Though she still struggles as a small business owner, Yerry decided to give all proceeds from Flood the Love back to the community.
Yerry visited churches and businesses in the community to gather sponsorships and interest for the event. Long's Chapel United Methodist Church connected her with Celesa Willett, executive director of United Way of Haywood County, as a way to ensure the funds went to the right place.
"We have a budget set aside for flood recovery," Willett said. "We're still getting some money in for it, but not as much as it was in the beginning. There's still a lot of need out there."
The Flood the Love event is fully sponsored, so Yerry said all funds raised will be donated to United Way's budget for flood recovery.
"People are skeptical," Yerry said. "And I get that. I want to make sure that the money goes where it's needed."
Willett said right now United Way is continuing to work with Baptists on Mission to get homes that were destroyed by the flood livable again.
"There have been so many people working so hard to make it happen," Willett said.
The money raised at Flood the Love will become part of that effort. Flood the Love takes place 2 — 8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 24 at Arise Farms, 326 Reed Cove Road in Waynesville.
Tickets for the event are donation based, and can be purchased ahead of the event at eventbrite.com. Donor levels for tickets range from $5 — 100.
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