To accompany Marcus Harris on his Saturday morning distribution route is to experience first-hand the kindness of strangers. In his van are carefully sorted and labeled bags of food, children’s books, and computers for more than twenty families as he reminds me this is a small portion of that morning’s distribution. Around Wake County, there are more vans with more bags of food, more books, and more computers doing the same as us.
As I begin to understand the high level of organization I’m witnessing, volunteers arrive at the van and are handed their portions of the distributions. Each of the four sets of volunteers testified to the ease of working with Neighborfood Express and the high-spirited, motivating Marcus Harris.
Neighborfood Express is a branch of the Marcus Harris Foundation, a non-profit created to address the root causes of food insecurity while also connecting with partner services, to weave webs of comprehensive community support. In November, Neighborfood Express set forth with a first-year mission of donating over 50,000 pounds of food, a goal the organization may reach before August is over!
So, who’s Marcus Harris? Marcus Harris is a man with a mission and fueled by experiences of his past. Marcus walked away from corporate America to pursue a life of serving the community from which he comes. His kind heart and perseverance combine as he seeks to increase food security in and around Wake County, NC – recognizing the devastating effects that a lack of community support and resources create and how it contributes to the systemic bias that cultivates inequities. Marcus changed his personal direction and has become the model of giving.
As we neared the end of the Saturday morning route, approximately two hours after we started, Marcus shared the story of a local church experiencing 80% lower attendance at their free food drives – attributing the decreased participation to the valiant community efforts of Neighborfood Express. “More people already had food, so they didn’t need to be fed” he explained. In just a few hours, the distribution day was complete and the rest of Saturday was mine to enjoy. It was unbelievable how little time it took to make such a difference. Before we parted, I asked Marcus about his plans for the rest of the day and he responded “I’ve got to get ready for next week. This work is never done!”
Weaver Street Market’s E.Q.U.I.T.Y. Alliance is honored to introduce The Marcus Harris Foundation’s Neighborfood Express as one of our newest Round Up partners in Wake County. The E.Q.U.I.T.Y. Alliance, founded by four Black Weaver Street Market employees, was formed with objectives of “promoting rebuilding” to “catalyze the prosperity within our community” through a lens of diversity, equity, and inclusion. From now through the end of March, 100% of Round Up funds collected at Weaver Street Market Raleigh will be used to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables for the organization’s recipients. We are excited to expand efforts and join together to support the community at large!