UNC Freshman Raises $800, Then Shops for PORCH Via Instacart 

food drives

Jake Dedmon, a freshman at UNC who grew up near Lake Norman, wanted to give back to his new community of Chapel Hill. Back home, he had gladly taken part in some canned food drives through his church. He was looking for a similar volunteer opportunity. Jake, a pre-business student, first learned about PORCH Chapel Hill-Carrboro through UNC Kenan-Flagler Cares, a PORCH partner.

But with no car and no extra storage to speak of in his dorm room, collecting pounds and pounds of food from friends and family wasn’t really a possibility, even though he liked the idea of helping neighbors who struggle with food insecurity. And so he decided to raise funds, then grocery shop for PORCH online, so that the non-perishables would be delivered directly to PORCH as the team held its monthly food sort dates at Extraordinary Ventures. 

He reached out to PORCH’s staff to share his idea. Once he had a food drive flyer template and a list of the most needed non-perishables, Jake got to work perfecting his messaging and notifying his loved ones about his plans. He texted and emailed, passing along the flyer and additional information about PORCH’s history and mission. Over the course of a couple of weeks, 17 donors contributed in amounts ranging from $20 to $100, largely using Venmo to get the funds to Jake. In all, he raised more than $800. 

With an impressive amount of contributions in hand, it was time to Instacart. The online grocery delivery service only allows 250 items per order. Jake was able to purchase more than 300 items, spread out over two orders at two different stores. The ease of online shopping allowed him to compare prices on items like canned vegetables, bags of rice, and containers of pasta sauce, so that the donations could be stretched further. 

Upon placing the orders, he left instructions for Instacart’s drivers to deliver the items to Extraordinary Ventures during PORCH’s specific food sort days and times.

A service like Instacart charges a fee, and Jake also tipped the drivers. But these were small prices to pay for the convenience. He is happy that his project introduced PORCH and its mission to new supporters and donors, since most of his contacts live outside of Orange County. 

Jake says he is interested in hosting another virtual food drive in the future – and he hopes to help others who want to pursue this option.

Learn more about hosting a virtual food drive for PORCH.