Orange County, Chapel Hill Programs Gearing up for Summer Hunger

 

 

Over 6,000 children could go hungry at some point this summer in Orange County, according to hunger relief agencies.

While many receive free and reduced-price breakfast and lunch during the school year — about 30 percent of Chapel Hill-Carrboro City students and roughly 44 percent of Orange County students — the programs break for summer, leaving families to pick up the cost.

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PORCH Launches ‘Planting Hope’ Children’s Book

 

Chapel Hill, NC December 1, 2016 — PORCH, a local nonprofit hunger relief organization, successfully completed a Kickstarter campaign on November 11, 2016 by exceeding its goal to raise funds to support printing of its children’s book, Planting Hope. This whimsical story is about a bickering garden that looks past differences and focuses on the things that we all need in order to thrive. The book was written and illustrated by kids for kids, with guidance from writer Susie Wilde and illustrator Peg Gignoux. The collaboration mirrors how PORCH has planted a seed that has nourished an entire community and brought people together for a common purpose. The objective of the book project is to inspire others to take action and have a positive impact on their communities, and to encourage other communities to replicate the PORCH model.

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Seeds of Hope form the Pens of Children

 

A year and a half ago Susan Romaine had an idea.

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Three Ordinary Women Fight Hunger in Triangle

 

In 2010, three friends — Christine Cotton, Debbie Horwitz and Susan Romaine — emailed a few neighbors inviting them to leave plantinghope_titlepagecanned food on their porches. They collected these cans and delivered them to a nearby hunger relief organization. This was the beginning of PORCH (People Offering Relief for Chapel Hill-Carrboro Homes).

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Grace Kirchgessner

In 2011, when Grace Kirchgessner first learned about PORCH from her sister, Charlotte White, she knew it was a perfect fit. Busy raising two young kids, Max and Olivia, while working full-time at GSK, Grace was looking for a hands-on volunteer activity that the family could do together, on a weekend, without too big of a time commitment. She was especially drawn toward hunger relief. “Even though I’m from Chapel Hill,” explains Grace, “I didn’t realize how much poverty we had here until the kids started school at Ephesus. I was stunned when I first learned that almost half of the kids at Ephesus were receiving free or reduced price meals.”

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PORCH Food for Schools Program Funds Snacks for Hungry Kids

Stefanie Mazva-Cohen at CulbrethA local nonprofit organization has partnered with 19 schools and one preschool to provide children with healthy snacks.PORCH, a hunger relief organization in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro area, offers food such as fresh produce and dry goods to families in need once a month. Despite this effort, some students were still coming to school with no snacks.

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Anne Fogelman

Laurel Hill’s dedicated neighborhood coordinator, Anne Fogleman, has been with PORCH from the get-go. When Anne first heard about PORCH’s neighborhood food drives some five years ago, she was “fascinated by the very simple process.”

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Laura Roque

Laura Roque was born in central Mexico, one of five children in her family. Her father, who worked in electronics, died of a heart attack when Laura was very young, forcing her two older brothers to drop out of school so that they could get jobs and provide for the family. Laura and her two sisters also started working at young ages to supplement the family income.

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David Caldwell: RENA Community Center

Opened in November 2014, the Rogers Road Community Center runs an after-school program for low-income families in the Rogers Road-Eubanks neighborhood. Anywhere from 20 to 30 students, mostly from nearby Morris Grove Elementary School, visit the after-school program each day.

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PORCH Set To Hit $1 Million Milestone

Mai Mai Suisin had never eaten canned food until she arrived in the U.S. last year as a refugee from Burma by way of Malaysia.

“We’re always used to eating all kinds of vegetables…without vegetables we cannot survive,” Suisin said. “That’s really the main food in our life.”

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