Earlier this fall, Hunger Lunch partnered with UNC alum-run business, So Good Pupusas, but Hunger Lunch found the partnership wasn’t mutually beneficial, so they decided to switch caterers, said Asha Patel, co-director of Hunger Lunch.
“We just reached a point where the partnership wasn’t mutually beneficial or sustainable in the long term, and so, unfortunately, we had to switch over from Cecilia,” she said. “However, we’re definitely not closing off that partnership long-term. We’re actually looking at seeing how her business and her model can maybe somehow fit with Nourish in another way.”
Patel said Nourish places an importance on having partnerships that are sustainable and beneficial for both partners, which is why there have been frequent changes in the vendors that provide for Hunger Lunch. However, she said she thinks Roots Bistro will be a great partner moving forward.
Turtle Harrison, owner of Roots, said he is a big supporter of the program and hopes the partnership will cause both Hunger Lunch and Roots to grow in popularity.
“I went to UNC and I was probably about the poorest student at UNC, so it makes a lot of sense to try and make sure that students can get an affordable meal,” he said. “... I think that we’ll both actually become more mindful (that) people actually need an affordable but not fast food, greasy, gross food at the same time, because you know usually the greasy fast food is the cheapest, but sometimes it’s not always the best for you.”
Patel said this is Hunger Lunch’s second week serving food from Roots.
“Part of what we really like about their model is that they locally source all of their ingredients, and they definitely try their best to be active in the local community, which is something that Nourish definitely tries to do as well.”
One thing Patel said she thinks will draw students to the new food is that Roots is offering cornbread, a favorite side item that was temporarily unavailable with previous vendors. She also said Roots will provide a wider variety of food, hopefully appealing to a more diverse population.
Sophomore Kaitlin Harlow said she loves going to Hunger Lunch because it is delicious and affordable.
“I like it because it’s an obvious lunch to have on Wednesdays, I don’t have to think about it and it’s really delicious,” Harlow said. “It’s a ton of food for a reasonable price that gives back to the community, and they use the profits also to fund Nourish’s work which includes development projects in Chapel Hill and abroad.”
Hunger Lunch is offered in the Pit every Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and today they will be serving vegetable rice, black beans and fresh cornbread.