Cora, a Resident Services Manager within a charity supported by the CFC has a very distinct childhood memory about nutritious food: there wasn’t any.
This CFC-supported organization is on a crusade to bring nutritious food to a community struggling with hunger. Cora sees a particular importance for providing children with access to the kinds of food that she herself did not have early in life. “If we can teach someone how to eat healthy when they’re young,” she shared, “that is important.”
Along with other residents, the volunteers run a food pantry at an apartment complex in Southeast Washington, D.C. – a food oasis within Ward 8. The apartments are a mile away from the closest grocery store, which is not far for someone who has a car, but a long way for the many area residents who do not. It is also in a neighborhood where many people live on limited incomes.
The markets are, by Cora’s description, a “whole community effort.” Twice a month, she and resident volunteers set up farmer’s market-style food distribution, featuring fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as other foods like beans, peanut butter and whole grain pasta. Often, a cooking demonstration is set up by a volunteer chef or resident to show how to prepare the foods available.
A sign up table is operated by community volunteers to help people learn about other opportunities for wellness, including this CFC-supported organization’s Brown Bag and Grocery Plus programs, which provide seniors with bags of nutritious food once a month. To prevent food waste there is also “share table,” where people can leave food they won’t use for others to take.
The pantry has come a long way from its humble beginnings. One of the volunteers remembers that when she first visited the food bank in 2004, “the pantry used to be in one of our supply closets.” Since then, they’ve built a culture of wellness that has inspired other food assistance partners to become hubs of nutritious food and resources in their own neighborhoods.
“Nobody should have to suffer because of food,” Cora says. Thanks to her work, and the hard work of other volunteers, hundreds of people in this community don’t have to.