Volume 16, Number 7
The Wake Forest Area Hunger Ministry was formed in 2016 as an informal coalition of churches, civic and service groups to fight hunger and the food insecurity that affects 20 percent of the people in northeast Wake County and Youngsville, and it always needs volunteers.
When one in five of the people, from babies to the elderly, are not sure they have enough food for the next meal or the next day, this is a crisis situation that impacts the health and the economy of this area.
The group works with 11 food pantries in the three towns of Wake Forest, Rolesville and Youngsville, and George Shaw of Wake Forest says there are more food pantries they are not reaching.
The churches sponsoring the ministry are Wake Forest United Methodist, Wake Forest Baptist, Wake Forest Presbyterian, St. John’s Episcopal, Olive Branch Baptist, Friendship Chapel Baptist and Disciples of Christ (Stone Church. Many other churches participate in some events.
The civic groups are the Wake Forest Rotary, Kiwanis, Lions, Optimist and Woman’s Club.
The coalition also partners with the Northeast Community Coalition, Habitat for Humanity of Wake County, the Society of St. Andrew (which organizes gleaning in the mid-south) and Zaxby’s restaurant, Lowe’s Hardware and some area grocery stores.
How can you help? In several ways. You can volunteer to sort and distribute food at the Tri-Area Ministry in Wake Forest, Hope House in Wake Forest, local Backpack Buddies groups, St. Catherine’s of Siena and other groups. To talk about volunteering, get in touch with George Shaw at email@example.com.
The next big volunteer event is the Yam Jam on Saturday, Feb. 24, from 9 a.m. until 10 or so. It takes place in the parking lot at St. Catherine’s of Siena Church on West Holding Avenue. Dave Eaton says they need 200 to 300 baggers to take care of the mountain of sweet potatoes from Jason Brown’s Franklin County farm. “It’s a fun community event and everyone enjoys it. I hope to get Jason Brown out, but his wife, Tay, is due with their seventh child in that time frame,” Eaton said. Brown is the NFL player who quit football, moved his family to Franklin County and bought a farm so he could raise crops that would help feed hungry people in the area.
Also, on Saturday, March 17, the group will sponsor Rise Against Hunger, working to pack as many a 100,000 meals at the Wake Forest Boys & Girls Club. The meals will mostly go to feed school children in developing countries. There will also be a collection of canned goods for Tri-Area Ministry.
Do you have a vegetable garden every summer and try to keep up with the tomatoes, zucchini and beans? Donate the extra produce to one of the local pantries.
Give money to the local pantries so they can purchase food at a deep discount from the regional food bank in Raleigh.
Volunteer to help with one or all of the three local community gardens. One is on Spring Street in Wake Forest, one is at the Presbyterian Church on Capital Boulevard and the third is at Wake Forest Baptist Church.
Tilda Caudle, the Northeast Community Coalition coordinator, said the Spring Street garden is on the north side of the street just east of the Spring Street Church. “I haven’t heard anything yet as to when planting time will be. I would imagine the weekend after Easter. We are supposed to hear sometime next month exactly when the veggie plants will be ready to pick up from First Fruits Farm. I do know that we will need volunteers and will let you know as soon as possible.”
Gene Cross with Wake Forest Baptist said, “Our garden is located just behind the offices of Wake Forest Baptist Church (large white two-story house across from the church campus). The garden is adjacent to the railroad tracks that run through downtown and behind the businesses that are on White Street (west side of the street). Access is from a small driveway that cuts between the large Victorian house and a small historic house.
“A kick-off meeting of garden volunteers is scheduled for Saturday, February 24, at the church fellowship hall and the community is invited. We look forward to a great planting and harvest season this year. Most of all, we look forward to sharing the bounty of this garden with our community neighbors.”
Volunteer to help glean or harvest and bag sweet potatoes, corn and other crops on farms that donate produce for charity. The Society of St. Andrew coordinates these events. Get in touch with Dave Eaton at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Volunteer to sort canned goods, frozen meat and vegetables at the regional food bank in Raleigh. This usually takes place the second Thursday of every month from 1 to 3 p.m. and once a quarter from 6 to 8 p.m. on a Wednesday. Call Dennis Beemer at 630-319-1155 to help.
For the second year there will be a Summer Nutrition Program, activities and food at Olive Branch Baptist Church on East Juniper Avenue for children in the Northeast area. The program will run from June through August. If you can volunteer, get in touch with Joy Shillingsburg at email@example.com.
The CROP Hunger Walk is a staple on the Wake Forest fall calendar. You can volunteer to help or you can walk the 1.6 mile route on North Main Street to raise money. There will be lots of advance notice about the need for volunteers and walkers. Tri-Area Ministry receives 25 percent of the money while the rest goes for hunger relief and water development overseas.
Shaw wrote that the ministry has several goals for 2018:
* Continue to build community across Wake Forest, Rolesville and Youngsville by broadening the coalition of organizations & events in order to alleviate hunger in our area.
* More volunteers for EVERYTHING – Community Gardens, Food Pantries, Gleaning, Yam Jam, Summer Nutrition Program, Giving Thanks at Thanksgiving.
* Better linking the food pantries to the farms doing the gleaning.
* Continuing food distribution programs while expanding food development initiatives.
* Add Community Gardens. There was one in town before Sept. 2017; by this spring there will be three.
* Youth Programs – providing increased opportunities by youth (scouts, service clubs in schools, Boys & Girls Clubs) in the Hunger Ministry. If you have a program that wants to get kids involved in hunger, let us know.
* Education and Training programs – increasing the focus on teaching nutrition, meal planning, canning, etc.