The OC Voice is a portion of the OC Report newsletter where local residents may have a platform to talk about local issues they care about.
Debbie Horwitz is one of the founders of PORCH Chapel Hill-Carrboro and is the director of its fresh Food for Families Program. To join their grassroots hunger relief effort, please visit chapelhill.porchcommunities.org.
With so many nonprofits addressing hunger in our community, you may wonder how PORCH Chapel Hill-Carrboro fits into the picture. PORCH started right here at home in Chapel Hill in May of 2010, and has grown intentionally to fill unmet needs. Food for Families is PORCH’s largest program, unique in providing large quantities of fresh and local food to families who are mostly living below poverty level and do not typically access other hunger relief resources due to various barriers.
With nearly 30 percent of local, school-aged children eligible for free and reduced-price meals, Food for Families works closely with school social workers to identify families at risk of food insecurity. Their referrals have been spot-on — 90 percent of surveyed PORCH recipients report that, in the past six months, it is sometimes or often true that they "were hungry but didn't eat because there wasn't enough money for food." One recipient put the need for PORCH food even more succinctly: “We wouldn’t make it through the month without it.”
This clear need for sufficient, nutritious food is met with the help of hundreds of generous donors living in 160 neighborhoods across Chapel Hill-Carrboro. Their contributions to PORCH’s monthly neighborhood food drives enable us to provide families a week’s worth of produce, each and every month. The grocery list includes onions, potatoes, sweet potatoes, apples, oranges, cucumbers, peppers, carrots, broccoli, cabbage, kale, green beans, tomatoes, lettuce, bunches of bananas, eggs, milk and chicken. As summer approaches, PORCH is able to provide an even more abundant selection of locally grown, seasonal fruits and vegetables.