Meet Food for Schools Sponsor Chapel Hill-Carrboro Sunrise Rotary

Community Partners
Camille Berry (President-Elect), Carol Rives (President), and Terry LeFebvre (Past President). 

Every Tuesday morning, the 30 or so members of Chapel Hill-Carrboro Sunrise Rotary gather at the Residence Inn on Erwin Road to socialize, enjoy breakfast, and hear from an inspiring speaker, such as a non-profit leader. 

Rotary International is a global service organization of business, professional, and community leaders, who all share the vision of a world free from disease, poverty, and illiteracy, promoting world peace and understanding. Chapel Hill-Carrboro Sunrise is part of 1.2 million Rotarians devoted to the concept of Service Above Self. 

Demonstrating that spirit of service, for a decade, Chapel Hill-Carrboro Sunrise has been a proud sponsor of PORCH Chapel Hill-Carrboro’s Food for Schools program. 

FFS provides supplemental food to students in Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools who are hungry and struggling to concentrate. Through FFS, PORCH Chapel Hill-Carrboro provides each school with $1,100 worth of snacks in a school year – $550 at the beginning of the academic year and $550 after the holidays. The snacks – cheese crackers, granola bars, applesauce, apples, protein bars, trail mix, fruit bars, and more – are purchased in bulk, brought to a central location, and sorted. Then, school social workers pick up the healthy snacks on a designated day each semester.   

Once the social workers divide the snacks among grade levels within their school, students simply let their teacher know when they are hungry and would like a snack to tide them over during the school day. Each school nurse gets a supply of snacks, too – a vital resource when students aren’t feeling well and need some sustenance.   

“Our kids really need and enjoy the snacks,” says Brenda McNeely-Allen, the school social worker at East Chapel Hill High. “The snacks have also helped me to develop relationships with kids that I probably never would have met.”

To learn more,  check out our recent feature on this program.  

The Sunrise Rotary club raises funds each year through a rubber duck race in the Eno River – then the board votes on how to disseminate the funds. “When I bring [Food for Schools] forward every year, there’s no discussion,” says Jim Evans, a member of Sunrise since 2001 who is also PORCH’s treasurer. “It’s voted on immediately. … Everybody knows it’s local. PORCH was founded by three local folks. It’s grown. … It’s just become an organization that has become a pillar of the community.” 

Jim continues: “Most of us in Rotary recognize how fortunate we are. … We can only try to imagine what it feels like to go to bed hungry or to worry about how we will feed our children.”

Recently, PORCH Chapel Hill-Carrboro’s executive director, Erin Riney, spoke to the club about how PORCH is growing and how it continually gathers information from the community it serves in order to be more responsive to their needs. 

Fighting food insecurity is something of a theme for the Rotary club as they select service projects. Members spend time each year preparing meals for a women’s shelter and for the Ronald McDonald House of Chapel Hill. 

The club has also provided funds to CASA, Salvation Army, and the Chapel Hill Service League. 

Jim says that “everybody joins Rotary with an open heart, generally,” adding that he’s never met a Rotarian he doesn’t like. 

“These are really my best friends,” he says. “This is my community. These are people I know I could call if I needed them, and I needed help in some way.” 

Learn more at

View our full list of FFS sponsors and learn more about becoming a sponsor.