The Daily Tar Heel
Printing news. Raising hell. Since 1893.
Thursday, Nov. 30, 2023 Newsletters Latest print issue

We keep you informed.

Help us keep going. Donate Today.
The Daily Tar Heel

Food for Families donates goods to needy Chapel Hill-Carrboro families

Photo: Food for Families donates goods to needy Chapel Hill-Carrboro families (Erin Hull)

Renita Lee was always running out of eggs.

After moving to Carrboro five years ago to enter a drug rehabilitation program, Lee said she has had trouble finding a job — even after being drug-free for more than four years.

To ensure that she and her 10-year-old daughter Kenita have food on the table, Lee turned to People Offering Relief for Chapel Hill Carrboro Homes.

“It feels good to know someone is willing to give you something you really need,” she said. “I could normally keep around canned goods, and now I don’t run out of eggs.”

But Lee is more than a recipient of the donations. She worked to help other locals in need by sorting groceries Monday morning with about 30 other volunteers for PORCH’s Food for Families kickoff.

Food for Families is a donation-based program that targets school children who are at risk of going hungry over the summer, including many of the about 1,500 Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools students who receive free or reduced-price meals.

Debbie Horwitz, co-founder of PORCH, said the group identifies needy families with the help of specialists at local elementary schools.

Each of the 100 families the program serves will receive one bag of non-perishable items like canned goods and another bag of fresh produce by redeeming a letter from PORCH at monthly pick-ups.

Horwitz said Monday’s donation to PORCH amounted to more than $18,000 of food, which is about $2,000 more than the organization’s average.

These donations will be split between the Food for Families program and outreach groups like the Inter-Faith Council for Social Service and the Rogers-Eubanks Neighborhood Association Food Pantry.

Horwitz attributed her organization’s success to its overall simplicity.

“Everyone is so busy,” she said. “Although they have good intentions, people don’t always know how to give. That’s where we come in.”

With apples, bananas, lettuce and other produce lining her lawn, PORCH co-founder Susan Romaine said she began to see the project’s tangible results as she watched her yard blossom into a makeshift food pantry.

“It brings tears to my eyes,” she said. “This is truly a community wide effort, and together we’re making sure children have healthy food to eat.”

Carrboro Alderman Lydia Lavelle volunteers as a street captain with the program and sorted food at Monday’s event.

Lavelle said she admires the group’s grassroots outreach and emphasis on providing healthy foods in a feasible manner.

“There’s not a much easier way to donate than opening your front door and putting food on your porch,” she said.

Contact the City Editor at

To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.