I. The Challenge
Food insecurity affects an estimated 17 million households in the United States, including more than 3 million kids. That includes thousands of students in Durham's elementary schools.
[Photo: Printout of the elementary school census data from our 7th Annual Foodraiser, showing 12 elementary schools with more than 98% of students eligible for free or reduced price school meals. (Original Thread on Twitter)]
A patchwork of federal, state, and local food programs help address food insecurity in the community, including dedicated programs focused on after school days, weekends, and the summer break (source).
But in North Carolina, there is no food program to assist with the 2-week winter break each December, when schoolkids are home and unable to rely on school-based food programs.
This is the gap the Bull City Foodraiser helps to fill.
II. What We Do
With the help of the community, the Bull City Foodraiser provides 5,103 full bags of groceries to schoolchildren each December: one bag for every single student at each of 12 elementary schools in Durham.
[Video: Local news coverage of our 8th Annual Foodraiser (YouTube)]
Our first Foodraiser was created in 2015 by local elementary school educator Turquoise Parker and her husband Donald. The family of one of Mrs. Parker's students asked for help with finding food for Thanksgiving. The Parkers realized, after helping that family, that other students were likely facing the same challenges. So the Parkers reached out to their friends to help crowdsource groceries for Turquoise's class to take home for the 2-week winter break, in what began as the Eastway Elementary Food Drive.
[Photo: A pic from our very first foodraiser, back in December 2015.]
That effort to feed one classroom has grown into what is now the Bull City Foodraiser, a joint project of Mrs. Parker's Professors and the T. Greg Doucette Foundation, serving a dozen entire schools.
III. Where Your Money Goes
Every single dollar we receive for the Foodraiser is spent on the Foodraiser!
We are a fully volunteer-driven low-overhead project: we start spinning up the event in October, implement it over 5 days in December, then go back into hibernation until the next winter.
[WATCH: T. Greg driving the forklift to unload a pallet of cereal during the 8th Annual Foodraiser (Twitter)]
Our December 2023 funds will be spent on the following:
- Food for students (Costco): $123,851.04
- Tractor trailers x2 (TTS Teconja TCI): $1,500.00
- Forklift + pallet jacks (Sunbelt): $1,058.99
- Paper bags (Not Just Paper): $400.00
- Bag transport to schools (U-Haul): $1,600.00
- Water and snacks for volunteers (Costco): $100.00
IV. Every dollar will be matched!
We also have five donors who will contribute $5 for each person who donates to this campaign!
And a sixth donor has offered to match every single dollar donated, up to $75,000!
Whatever you donated, it will be more than doubled!
V. More Information
We keep information about the Foodraiser in a public repository on GitHub, a common website for collaborating on projects. You can always access the Bull City Foodraiser repo at foodraiser.info!
[Photo: Volunteers at our 8th Annual Foodraiser, taking a break after a day of bagging food.]