As summer rolls around, food pantries will traditionally begin their campaign to collect as many donations as possible, and our local Western Wake Crisis Ministry is no exception. Food collection is especially important during the summer months, because children are no longer receiving balanced meals twice a day from their attended schools; as a result, the number of clients at local food pantries noticeably increases. However, donations do not typically follow this same trend. When school lets out, families tend to go on vacations and clubs cease their efforts, but, as Tammi Greco of WWCM, says, “hunger is year round.”
Western Wake Crisis Ministry is an organization developed by area churches and staffed entirely by volunteers with one goal in mind: to build local foundations for a stronger community. To help support this goal, you can volunteer at the Crisis Ministry yourself! There are plenty of Outreach roles available such as receptionist or crisis counselor, but you could also help by serving on a resource committee or as a community advocate. People in these positions facilitate communications with partner groups, advertise fundraisers, and encourage general participation. Individuals interested in volunteering should email WWCM at firstname.lastname@example.org to make arrangements to attend orientation.
Thanks to all of their dedicated volunteers, WWCM is able to provide a multitude of services to about two hundred families each month, equating to nearly seven hundred individuals. Many people, though, remain oblivious to just how extensive the provided services actually are. They include financial aid and counseling, job search assistance, budget development systems, nutrition courses, and case management services alongside their “food choice” pantry which allows individuals to select the items needed for their families. During the holidays, it is extremely popular for church groups and school organizations to develop food drives to help fill the progressive pantry, but the summer season is often overlooked.
Using the slogan “hunger does not take a summer vacation,” WWCM organized a food drive, beginning May 1st, in an effort to fight hunger in our community. The Crisis Ministry is advertising a goal of two tons of food, consisting of items such as pasta sauce, canned fruits and vegetables, cold cereal, peanut butter, applesauce, and any other staple foods that you can think of. If you are able to donate any of the preceding items, please drop them off at Suite 408 of the “540 Flex Business” Complex at 1600 Olive Chapel Road. WWCM volunteers collect for the pantry every weekday between 11:00am and 2:00pm.
In case you can’t stop by this summer to contribute to the two ton goal, there are plenty of other ways to support WWCM. For example, you could simply make a secure, monetary donation. The donations would assist the Crisis Ministry in their mission to provide education, advocacy, resources, and services to local families in need. To make a donation, visit www.wwcm.org and locate their “Donate” tab; there you will be able to learn more about the many ways in which you can contribute to the organization.
WWCM understands that many people prefer to be actively involved in volunteer efforts, so they even provide an option to set up your own event! Here are a few tips and ideas from the Crisis Ministry to help you get a food drive up and running. First, you should plan your strategy; decide if you’re organizing a drive within your company, faith group, or even just your neighborhood. Then, set a goal; maybe two tons seems a little extreme to you, but you may surprise yourself so don’t be afraid to dream big! Most importantly, though, you need to promote your drive and make it easy to participate. To do this, you could host an event and charge a bag of food for admission or make it a competition and award categories like “largest individual donation” and “most unusual donation item.” However you do it, those who are helped by your efforts are bound to be appreciative.
Recognizing the positive impacts that they can have on the community, local youth often do take WWCM’s advice and organize their own events. In the past, they have done things such as develop campaigns to collect staple foods like rice and beans. In this project, the rice and beans were purchased in large quantities and then divided by the pound into ziplock bags. By collecting these particular items, the event organizers intended to spread awareness about how many people all over the world survive almost solely on rice and beans due to their nutritional value and ability to be purchased in bulk. This campaign not only collected donations for the local pantry, but it also educated participants about the global issue of world hunger. Imagine all the things you could do, too!
For example, if monetary donations are more your style, WWCM accepts those as well. Previously, a different group of young volunteers organized what they called “The Mailbox Project.” In The Mailbox Project, the event organizers contacted all of their neighbors and made arrangements to paint their mailbox posts for a small fee, often $10 – $20. Then, the volunteers proceeded to donate their earnings to Western Wake Crisis Ministry to help serve families in need. Why not follow in the footsteps of these young philanthropists? All it takes to do good in your community is a little dedication and a passion for making a change.
With so much negativity in the world, everyone should be doing their part to ensure that our community is a place of happiness, hope, and positivity. Western Wake Crisis Ministry provides an accessible outlet for individuals to personally contribute to those efforts. This summer, we should all try to make a donation to the food pantry, organize an event and gift the proceeds, or dedicate a few hours as a volunteer. After all, a little generosity never goes unappreciated. To learn more about additional volunteer opportunities, upcoming events, or services offered by Western Wake Crisis Ministry, email them at email@example.com or call 919-362-0657.
Abbey Finn is a Junior at Apex Friendship High School, and is studying Journalism. She chose the topic, wrote the article,and took the photos for this article.