WSM invites owners and shoppers to join together in partnership with local food organizations to raise awareness of the severity of local hunger and provide healthy food to the food-insecure in our communities. WSM partners with four local hunger relief organizations—PORCH, TABLE, Orange Congregations in Mission (OCIM), and Interfaith Council for Social Services (IFC)—as well as the Orange County Schools, all of whom work year round to provide healthy food for those in need in our communities, particularly children, low-income families, and families in crisis.
Working Together to Reduce Hunger
Shoppers are offered the opportunity to “round up” their bill at the register, donating the round up change to the current campaign recipient. We also encourage our customers to volunteer with the organizations to help collect, sort, and distribute the donated food (see opportunities here). WSM leverages its buying power to help the organizations purchase the donated food at greatly reduced costs.
A key component of the public education campaign is reminding donors that hunger does not take a vacation. It is a monthly, sometimes weekly, occasionally daily challenge for hundreds of local families living in poverty. To make a dent in local hunger, food donations need to be marshaled on an ongoing, community-wide basis. “Weaver Street Market’s primary role in the Community Food Partnerships,” says General Manager Ruffin Slater, “is to bring together community resources to achieve a greater impact on hunger relief than any group could achieve alone.”
Our e-newsletter and community blog will announce the campaigns. If you have suggestions about the food campaign or want to volunteer to help, please contact Brenda at firstname.lastname@example.org.
WSM’s Community Food Partners:
PORCH, People Offering Relief to Chapel Hill Carrboro Homes, is an all-volunteer grassroots organization that raises about $20,000 each month through its monthly food drives in 150 participating neighborhoods in Chapel Hill, Carrboro, and Hillsborough. PORCH donations support three programs that provide food for food-insecure individuals and families:
- Food for Families provides a week’s worth of groceries once a month to 350 families comprising 1,550 individuals, of which 900 are children. The groceries include both non-perishables collected on food drives and fresh produce purchased with cash donations.
- Through its Food for Pantries program, PORCH delivers more than 3,500 grocery bags of shelf-stable non-perishable products to twelve local food pantries in Orange County, including OCIM’s food pantry (see below).
- PORCH’s Food for Schools program provides healthy snack foods to nineteen public schools and the pre-K program in Chapel Hill and Carrboro to stock school pantries providing supplemental food to hungry students.
TABLE provides healthy food to hungry children in preschool, elementary school, and middle school every week in Chapel Hill and Carrboro, including healthy non-perishables, local produce, and fresh milk. TABLE’s goal is to feed 600 children during the 2017-2018 school year. TABLE donations support three programs that provide healthy food for food-insecure children ages 3 to 14 years:
- Weekend Meal Backpack program fills children’s backpacks with healthy food for the weekends and school vacations when free school breakfasts and lunches are unavailable.
- Volunteers for the Snack Chef program go to after-school programs in low-income communities to teach the children how to make healthy, fresh snacks to share with their families.
- Summer TABLE, an extension of the Weekend Meal Backpack program, delivers weekly nutritious food to the kids in their summer camps, neighborhoods, communities and summer schools for up to ten weeks during the summer months.
IFC, Inter-Faith Council for Social Service, is a non-denominational social service organization that provides basic services to combat poverty, hunger and homelessness in Chapel Hill and Carrboro. Two of IFC’s programs provide food for food-insecure individuals and families:
- Community Kitchen provides 80,000 meals to hungry individuals each year. Hot nutritious meals are provided three times a day 365 days a year. The meals are free of charge and are provided for the residents of IFC’s Community House and anyone else who is hungry.
- IFC’s Food Pantry provides around 1,500 bags of groceries every month to food-insecure individuals and families who live or work in Chapel Hill or Carrboro.
OCIM, Orange Congregations in Mission, is comprised of nearly 50 Orange County congregations that address the needs of low-income families in northern Orange County. Two of OCIM’s programs provide food for food-insecure individuals and families:
- OCIM’s Samaritan Relief Ministry provides food as well as emergency financial assistance. In 2014 a total of 10,948 individuals were assisted. Of that number, 8,946 people received help from the food pantry.
- Its Meals on Wheels program provides home-delivered meals to residents of northern Orange County who are home-bound and unable to prepare a nutritious meal for themselves. In 2014, the program provided meals for 70 households.
Orange County Schools
Did you know that 43% of the 7,500 students in Orange County elementary schools live at a poverty level that qualifies them for the free and reduced lunch program? We collect money to fill backpacks that students will receive during winter and spring breaks, when they don’t have access to school meals. The backpack meals will be distributed to food insecure kids at the four OCS elementary schools with the highest need: Central Elementary, Efland-Cheeks Global Elementary School, New Hope Elementary, and Grady A. Brown Elementary. An estimated 1,100 to 1,200 kids are at risk for food insecurity just at these four schools.