Who We Are


STEP WNC is a ministry to help our neighbors in Western North Carolina have safe, healthy, and secure housing, to provide opportunities for shared service and training, and to share the message of love and grace of Jesus Christ. STEP WNC will initially serve home owners in Transylvania, Henderson, and Jackson Counties in North Carolina.

Feeling a tap on the shoulder...

STEP Western North Carolina is an organization conceived through time spent in mission work by us, Carolyn and Rivers Smith, of Brevard, North Carolina. It began as an idea that occurred to both of us independently in the Summer of 2015 while participating in a short-term mission project through Brevard First United Methodist Church, where Rivers had just been hired to serve as the high school and college age youth director. It was during this pivotal week that we came to realize how much change can happen when regular people like us get involved. We helped a New York City food bank process thousands of pounds of food that would eventually feed people in all five boroughs. We helped serve lunch to hundreds at a Lutheran Church, and then immediately transformed the cafeteria into a food kitchen for those in need to shop for food. We worshiped with people we had just met and felt the common bond of love that welcomes all. This “mission” trip changed our hearts both in our relationship with each other and with our Creator, and we felt compelled to continue serving. At this point, God was tapping us on our shoulders, and we began looking for ways to become servant leaders, eager to serve as volunteers in our communities and in the larger region of Western North Carolina.

Feeling a nudge to get going...

Another STEP (pun intended) was in 2018, while we were participating in another week of “mission” work closer to home at Hinton Rural Life Center in Clay County, North Carolina. At Hinton, we worked on teams to repair homes, establish relationships with community members and process wood for a firewood ministry that provides home heat. At dinner one night with our pastor friend Dr. Mary Shore, we were considering all of the services Hinton offered to Clay county and how much it is needed in our own county of Transylvania. Mary turned to both of us and said, “Why aren’t you two doing this?” We smiled, looked at each other and said out loud, “We should be!” The nudge was obviously from God, but still we were thinking it wasn’t time to do something about it.

Being shoved into action…

Sometime in January, 2019 we began talking about this calling we both kept hearing from God to start a ministry in our county that helps people like we saw at Hinton. A member of Rivers’ life group said he was taking a class learning about non-profits at Brevard College and he would be interested in helping us get started. At the time, Rivers was a year and a half out of heart ablation surgery and was awaiting spine surgery to fuse 2 vertebrae. Although he was in excruciating pain, he agreed to talk to Jackson about what it would take to start a non-profit organization. From there, we began to feel God’s awesome power shoving us into action. STEP Western North Carolina was born June 25, 2019 with the  incredible help of our dear friend Jim Whitcomb. We are all just trying to let God lead us where we should go to help our low income, elderly and/or disabled homeowners maintain safe and secure housing and to process firewood for home heat.

Come, take a STEP with us!

Would you like to join us and be part of this ministry? Visit our Volunteer page and figure out how God is working in your life to help your neighbors!

More Information...

See our list of positions within STEP WNC.

See who is part of our leadership.

Perhaps you can donate to help fund projects for our neighbors.

If you want more information, please contact us through the Send a Message form.