Do you know where your next meal is coming from? Have you ever had to choose between buying food to feed your family and paying your bills? Feeding America, the national network of Food Banks of which we are a member, created this interactive tool to simulate these tough decisions that too many of our neighbors are forced to make on a too regular basis. Having to face these decisions unfortunately is not an uncommon phenomenon – one in four children in North Carolina is hungry. Each day there are thousands of people in our community who wake up hungry and have no means to satisfy this basic human need. Some have lost their jobs. Some hold two jobs. The challenges of daily survival for these individuals and their families are daunting and don't simply disappear. At the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle, we not only rescue and distribute food to those who need it, we also teach people and communities how to grow their own food with workshops and programming in our community gardens and on our teaching farms, empowering them to take back control of their food choices. We equip them with the knowledge and skills to grow, select, and prepare healthy foods at home on a limited budget through our nutrition education programs like Cooking Matters. We work to feed, teach, and grow, addressing both access and income barriers to food security.
We also work on income and economic development solutions, providing an opportunity for those who may be going through the lines at soup kitchens and shelters to break the cycle of poverty. These solutions include:
- Culinary Job Training Program – we provide an opportunity for life-challenged individuals to break the cycle of poverty and gain culinary skills needed for steady employment in the food service. The 11 week intensive courses are taught by professional chefs, a job placement counselor, and a case manager. Students transform raw product that arrives in our warehouse into healthy, appetizing meals to be distributed on our trucks to agencies that feed the hungry.
- Catering with a Cause program hires graduates from our CJTP program and serves as an extended training program for CJTP graduates to learn catering-specific skills before beginning a career in the food service industry. Meals are prepared in the kitchens of our headquarters and InterAct's Family Safety and Empowerment Center, and the program generates revenue to help fund our hunger-relief programs.
- Young Farmer Training Program – this paid multi-year farming apprenticeship teaches teens in Wake County how to co-design and implement profitable farm plans, market their farm products while keeping good records, cook and share healthy meals, teach the community about farming and gardening, and advocate for a better food system.
- Second Chances: Inter-Faith Food Shuttle actively hires people who have faced adversity. 46% of our staff including full-time, part-time, and interns have faced employment adversity.
You can help - take the “Tough Choices Challenge.” Just taking the challenge provides a day’s worth of meals for a person in need through Feeding America.
Another interactive tool created by one of our partner agencies, Urban Ministries of Durham, to simulate tough choice: http://playspent.org/
Learn more about how we feed, teach, and grow here: www.foodshuttle.org