Jen saw the need for someone to help feed hungry children, and saw that no such organization existed in Durham, so she did something to solve the need. She created and launched PORCH-Durham, a charity that collects food in support of Backpack Buddies. This program provides backpacks with food for the weekend to children most in need in Durham’s public schools. In PORCH-Durham’s first year (2011), they collected over 9 tons of food; the program now serves over 400 students at 9 schools in Durham.
- Nominated by: Chris Meldrum
In Her Own Words:
In the years before being a stay-at-home mom to three boys, I taught middle school science. I saw first hand children that came to school hungry. In the fall of 2010 I began to look within my own city of Durham to see how I could initiate a simple food drive that would involve neighborhoods helping to feed local school children. Together with two other women in Durham, PORCH-Durham was founded in late 2010. PORCH-Durham is focused on collecting food to support the Backpack Buddies Program. This program provides a weekend’s worth of food to school children who would otherwise go hungry. Through partnering with the InterFaith Food Shuttle of Durham more than 400 children throughout Durham Public Schools receive weekend backpacks of food (up from 248 in 2010). Even though we have collected over 9 tons of food in 2011, we are still only reaching about 4% of those in need. As a co-founder of PORCH-Durham, I have been responsible for: helping to load and unload cars of collected food; working with and recruiting coordinators to start PORCH-Durham groups in new neighborhoods; and spearheading our marketing and co-promotion efforts with monthly newsletters and social networking sites.