Three partnering programs do their part in beating hunger

Lisa Hatley, Director of Development for the Farmer Foodshare program proudly shows off the progress they have made in the past five years. Photo by Rowland Givens.

Lisa Hatley, Director of Development for the Farmer Foodshare program proudly shows off the progress they have made in the past five years. (Staff photo by Rowland Givens)

Many families around Durham don’t have a lot of money to spend on food. In fact, the latest reports show that 1-in-4 children and 1-in-5 residents worry about where their next meal may be coming from.

The Farmer Food Share program, Porch, and the Food Shuttle work in tandem to help families get fresh, nutritious food.

Lari Hatley, Director of Development for Farmer Food share, on 902 N Mangum St, says that about 300 farmers Durham and surrounding counties grow healthy food to benefit people in need.

There are a number of ways Food Share contributes to the community. One of the Farmer Food share programs is the ‘’Food Ambassadors’’ program which educates and prevent gaps that may keep people from eating food.

Hatley says that they teach families to prepare meals by sharing recipes and assisting people with cooking.

Food Share has cooking demonstrations as well as an approach to teaching how to cook. Hatley loves that the program can make a difference.

“It always puts a smile on kids’ faces,” says Hatley, about the families that come to receive food.

She remembers being at a farmers market once. “This little boy picked up a green pepper and was happy, you could see how excited he was about getting food.”

Another program that Food Share has is a donations program that connects hundreds of farms and volunteers together to get food to thousands of hungry people in poor neighborhoods.

Food Share has made a big impact not only in Durham, but other counties as well. According to Hatley about 20,000 people are fed a year through the program.

Porch, another organization located next to them partners with Food Share to collect more than 3000 pounds of food each month.

Inside the pantry where the food is stocked, you will see an abundance of canned food: fruit, vegetables, meat and boxed cereal, crackers and macaroni along with a variety of other quick to eat meals.

A representative for Food Shuttle Kyle Abrams, who partners with Farmer Food Share as well as Porch, says that the Food Shuttle distributes the food that Porch collects and that they serve seven counties.

The Food Shuttle is involved in the community; dedicated and driven to make a change, like the other two organizations, they also have their way of helping in the community.

Food Shuttle has created programs that have developed and fed children in dire need too. One of the programs that Food Shuttle has is the Backpack Buddies program to ensure kids have a weekend meal, to allow them to be well nourished and ready to learn during the school year.

In addition, the Food Shuttle also runs a Mobile Meals program, which navigates through low-income neighborhoods with a food truck. The Food Shuttle provides this program because over 116,000 in the greater triangle area do not know when their next meal will be given to them.

The meals are provided by culinary interns, graduates of the IFFS (Interfaith Food Shuttle) culinary job training program, and monitored by trained chefs.

They not only help with giving healthy hot and nutritious meals but encourage physical activity providing jump ropes. Their primary goal is to keep fighting hunger and kill obesity. With these three programs it seems the city of Durham may be in good hands.

Guillermo, a member of the church Iglesias Emmanuel, says that the church has been getting food from Farmer Food Share since 2008 for people in dire need, who come to get food every Wednesday from the church.

Guillermo said that when they first started, they served 12 families, but it now serves up to 60 families. Some of the main items families can pick up are bread, vegetables, and cereal.