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After humble beginnings, PORCH has raised over $2 million for hunger relief efforts

<p>Photo courtesy of PORCH Founder Susan Romaine.</p>
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Photo courtesy of PORCH Founder Susan Romaine.

PORCH, an all-volunteer grassroots hunger relief organization, will hold a community celebration as they pass the $2 million mark in donations for hunger relief.

The celebration, which will be held on Feb. 12 at St. Thomas More Catholic Church, will include a welcome from founder Susan Romaine and remarks from Carrboro Board of Aldermen member Damon Seils, Chapel Hill Town Council member Karen Stegman and PORCH volunteer Michael Smith.

Seils said he thinks that PORCH has grown into an important part of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro food distribution system.

“I was just talking to our mayor earlier today and she was telling me that she herself was one of the block captains for PORCH,” Seils said “Carrboro has been really great for PORCH — and PORCH has been really great for Carrboro.”

Susan Romaine, along with co-founders Debbie Horwitz and Christine Cotton, began the organization in 2010 with just one food drive in one neighborhood. Over the last eight years the organization has grown to assist more than 160 different neighborhoods and has implemented food relief programs in local schools. 

Each neighborhood has a coordinator and once each month the coordinator goes to each participating house and picks up food donations. That food then gets sorted and eventually delivered to 15 food pantries in Orange County. 

Romaine said PORCH has been successful because of the simplicity of the food drives and the compassion of the community. 

“It’s the power of one person, once a month, putting one can or one box out on their porches and helping one family that otherwise might not have enough food to eat for one meal,” Romaine said. “So if we can get enough individuals in the community to buy into this, then it’s a testament to what really amazing things that we as a community can do.”

Horwitz said when they first founded PORCH she did not envision it to be as successful as it is today, but early on, the founders realized that this was a very generous community.

“We live in a place ideally suited for this," Horwitz said. "We have people who are able to give and who are motivated to help others and I think we have a very generous community and we also have people who need it."

Romaine said the upcoming celebration will allow everyone to support PORCH's success.

“I think of this as a celebration for this entire community,” Romaine said “So many individuals, businesses, nonprofit organizations, universities, public schools systems that are coming together and supporting this all-volunteer effort."

@MattaisMiller

city@dailytarheel.com

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