In January, 2017, End Hunger Durham launched our Food and More project to make community service resources of all kinds more available to clients of food pantries and and other low income families, and to encourage pantries to innovate in ways that could support their clients.
The project engaged food pantry clients in individual and group consultations to discuss their priorities, ideas for solutions, and to respond to proposed food pantry innovations.
Duke’s Community Care Fund provided a grant to support the consultation process and the innovations that emerged from the consultations.
In the Spring and Summer we worked with six food pantries which came up with these projects:
- Backyard vertical container gardens at the homes of senior clients to improve consumption of vegetables without having to bend over.
- Transition to client choice to support individual dietary needs and reduce waste.
- Food demonstrations and tastings to increase the consumption of vegetables.
- English classes to empower immigrants in all areas of life.
- Sharing of starter plants, enabling clients to grow their own vegetables.
- A resource hub and bulletin board alerting clients to a variety of benefits and programs that could improve their physical and financial health.
All of these innovations move the relationship between the pantry and the client from one of charity to one of dignity. When clients are empowered to grow their own food or choose which foods they need, when they can access resources that free up money for food, they begin to move from dependency to self-sufficiency.