PORCH talks with WCHL’s Aaron Keck

Susan Romaine and Christine Cotton of PORCH – as well as two student leaders of high school PORCH Clubs, Sydney Runkle (CHHS) and Norman Xie (ECHHS) join Aaron to talk about PORCH, how you can get involved and the great things happening at our local high schools. 

Click here to listen!

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PORCH Chapel Hill is featured on WRAL


When three moms in Chapel Hill decided to start a neighborhood food drive nine years ago, they had no idea it would become what it is today.

“It’s really an unexpected pleasure,” said Debbie Horowitz as she looks back at a room full of busy volunteers and piles of donated food.

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Helen Johnson

Helen Johnson

“It’s all a matter of priorities,” Helen Johnson relates to me, the way we think of social needs.

A friend in Sweden drove that point home to her a few years ago when they were discussing care for people young and old, and the difference in our two countries’ approaches.  Helen quickly translates that into the issue before us at PORCH: how to feed the many children, even in this fairly wealthy area, who are food-insecure. Which means, simply, that they don’t know where another meal will come from.  “25%!” she says. “It’s shameful.”

Helen has been a PORCH volunteer since she was a mentor with CHCCS’ Blue Ribbon program.  The girl she befriended had a single mom with four kids, and Helen quickly learned from them what it meant to have to depend on food from others.  “Of all the area resources, PORCH was the best,” Helen remembers the mom telling her. “Otherwise, she waited in line for hours for very little.” That nudged Helen into finding out more about PORCH and lending them her years of dedicated service from the Roosevelt Drive neighborhood.  Though she volunteers in other places, politically and socially, PORCH is one of the highlights of her time, because at the end of the day, she can see exactly the good that comes of it.  

She also thinks that Christine, Debbie and Susan are extraordinary women who should be recognized much more widely for the outstanding job they have done and continue to do.

But, she adds, “We should be taking care of all the basic needs of all of us as a country…food, shelter, health care.  Organizations like PORCH should be more crisis-based.”  As it is, she thinks, we who are working so hard to fill empty cupboards “are just letting the country off the hook.”

Helen is passionate about this, and argues that the solution to the problem lies in changing attitudes from the ground up.  If people, she maintains, began to think in terms of caring for the whole society instead of just their own lives, widening that tunnel vision both locally and nationally, a lot of 
things would change for the better.  Even for people who think they have it all.

Along those same lines, PORCH, she thinks, has a lot of potential.  “The power of PORCH is offering the experience of finding people you wouldn’t ordinarily meet…other volunteers, recipients, organizers, coming together in a single purpose.  PORCH builds community. And building community is the key to building people up, here and in the large nation and world.”  

Helen remembers a woman at a sort telling her, “PORCH is my church.”  She explained that it gave her spiritual uplift, a sense of communion, and purpose.  “We are all hungry for community,” Helen says.

Story submitted to PORCH by Rachel Victoria Mills

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Building community while increasing access to local, fresh food

With so many nonprofits addressing hunger in our community, you may wonder how PORCH Chapel Hill-Carrboro fits into the picture. PORCH started right here at home in Chapel Hill in May of 2010, and has grown intentionally to fill unmet needs. Food for Families is PORCH’s largest program, unique in providing large quantities of fresh and local food to families who are mostly living below poverty level and do not typically access other hunger relief resources due to various barriers. 

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Sunday, June 2 4-8pm
Southern Village, Chapel Hill

Join us Sunday, June 2 on the Lawn at Southern Village for PORCHfest! The free community gathering will feature games for the whole family and a terrific bake sale. A number of Southern Village restaurants will be donating a portion of sales during the event to Porch including Town Hall Grill, La Vita Dolce, Pazzo and Rasa Malaysia. The Carolina Brewery will be on the Village Green selling beverages for the event.

The performance schedule for PORCHfest is:
4 pm Chapel Hill School of Rock
5 pm Skipsations
6 pm Craicdown

This year we are especially excited to announce the Golden Can Awards, to be awarded to exceptional PORCH volunteers at the event!

For more information on Southern Village, including directions and where to park, visit their website at www.southernvillage.com.

We hope you’ll enjoy a late spring evening with us!

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