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.”
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.”
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.
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.