Mai Mai was two months pregnant when she fled a military regime in Burma in 2008.
After she had her baby in Malaysia, a friend told her she should consider coming to the Chapel Hill area. Soon after, Mai and her son moved to the United States.
In Chapel Hill, Mai had to work part-time in order to take care of her son. She got married in 2014, and soon she and her family were facing difficult circumstances.
“At the time I think we had 80 something dollars,” Mai said.
Without enough money to buy food, she turned to PORCH, a local hunger relief organization.
“PORCH filled the gap for us so well,” Mai said. “I was very grateful to them.”
PORCH was founded in 2010 by Susan Romaine, Debbie Horwitz and Christine Cotton, who wanted to figure out a way to combat local hunger.
“Through our volunteer work in the public schools, we were becoming more and more aware of the severity of childhood hunger,” Romaine said. “So the three of us, busy with our own lives but also knowing a lot of people with busy lives, were trying to think of some way we could contribute to hunger relief, but to do it in a very simple, meaningful way.”
Romaine said the idea they came up with was simple. Neighbors would leave a few cans of tuna on their front porch and they would swing by, pick it up and drop it off at a local food pantry.