It all began with a few cans of tuna.
In the throes of the recession in 2010, Christine Cotton, Debbie Horwitz, and Susan Romaine came up with a simple idea to help neighbors without enough food to eat. The three friends reached out to a few of their neighbors in the Lake Hogan Farms development in Chapel Hill, inviting them to leave cans of tuna on their porch. On a designated day, they would then go porch-to-porch, gathering the cans and bringing the haul to a local hunger relief organization that packed cans of tuna into its weekend backpacks.
What started as a small neighborhood food drive more than a decade ago has grown by leaps and bounds. PORCH (People Offering Relief for Chapel Hill-Carrboro Homes) now hosts monthly food drives in more than 100 neighborhoods. The wide variety of donated non-perishables – everything from boxes of cereal and granola bars to bags of beans and rice – restock the shelves of 13 local food pantries. Month after month, year after year, all of those porch pick-ups have really added up: PORCH has now delivered more than $6 million in hunger relief for Chapel Hill-Carrboro families. The PORCH model is being replicated in 17 other North Carolina cities and several other states.
The power of one: one time a month, one Neighborhood Coordinator, one street, one porch, even just one canned good. If each of us steps up, it’s amazing what we as a community can accomplish. It may take you to a place you would never have imagined in your wildest dreams.
Our board has embarked on a new strategic plan to meet the growing demands of families facing food insecurity. Read an overview.