Meet Public Allies North Carolina Americorps member Chelsea Travis

It’s Americorps week, so each day we’re featuring one of the dedicated Americorps members currently serving with Inter-Faith Food Shuttle! Today, meet Chelsea Travis, our  Mobile Markets Health Coordinator, who  is actually in her second term as an Americorps member with Public Allies North Carolina and Inter-Faith Food Shuttle – she spent her first year as our School Pantry Coordinator, expanding the number of our school pantries in Durham from a single pilot to pantries at 5 middle and high schools. This year, she is working with our Medical Mobile Farmers Markets held at area health clinics as a means of improving chronic health issues related to diet.  Partnering with medical centers, we provide "prescription produce" of free fresh fruits and vegetables for low-income patients with diabetes, high blood pressure, and other ailments so that they can adhere to their doctor's dietary instructions, supporting their progress towards a healthy life.

What made you decide to become an Americorps Member? I chose to become an Americorps member because I wanted to spend some hands-on time helping others and gaining some invaluable training in the meantime. I hoped to travel some as well, and I have done all this and more in and around the community I've grown up in, and my eyes have been opened up to so many new perspectives and realities. It has been so rewarding!

What’s been your favorite moment working with IFFS so far? My best moments working with IFFS so far have been so numerous and varied that I cannot just choose one! So I'll give you a melange of my best moments: learning how to drive a delivery truck, culinary class lunches, warehouse surprises, awesome trainings and conferences, and funny/inspiring/home-y gatherings with amazing co-workers!

What do you like to do when you’re not working to end hunger? I like to dance, practice Capoeira, watch good movies- I am currently finishing the Star Wars trilogy, admire good art, and spend time with friends and family.

What’s your favorite movie? This is so hard I cannot pick just one favorite movie, but one of my favorites is Inception.

What would your last meal be? My last meal?! No clue. I just hope that it is good and cheesy. :)

Food Films for Change

It’s still January, the beginning of a new year, and we’re still thinking about change. While we may make our personal resolutions for self-improvement,  issues  like hunger require  us all to work together toward change, resolved to create a hunger-free community where everyone has enough healthy, nutritious food to eat.  For some food for thought, check out these  recent and upcoming films exploring the interplay of  nutrition,  hunger, and the need for change  in our food system across the state and across the nation:

Health Crisis in Carolina: Real Families. Real Struggles. Real Solutions.

This new documentary, produced by our partner Advocates for Health in Action (AHA), follows three North Carolina families as they learn ways to improve their eating habits and become more physically active. Its release coincides with the release of the NC Plan to Address Obesity in early February. The documentary is scheduled to air on Sunday, February 3rd at 1pm on UNC-TV. You can click this link to view the trailer: and follow the film on their facebook page.

Soul Food Junkies

This film has already been released -- it first aired on January 14, 2013 on PBS Independent Lens -- but it’s an important one for exploring the issues of food justice. Check out the trailer here. If you missed it, PBS is streaming the documentary free until February 11th. You can watch it online here:

Description of this film from PBS Independent Lens:

“In Soul Food Junkies, [film director Byron] Hurt sets out on a historical and culinary journey to learn more about the soul food tradition and its relevance to black cultural identity. Through candid interviews with soul food cooks, historians, and scholars, as well as with doctors, family members, and everyday people, the film puts this culinary tradition under the microscope to examine both its positive and negative consequences. Hurt also explores the socioeconomic conditions in predominantly black neighborhoods, where it can be difficult to find healthy options, and meets some pioneers in the emerging food justice movement who are challenging the food industry, encouraging communities to “go back to the land” by creating sustainable and eco-friendly gardens, advocating for healthier options in local supermarkets, supporting local farmers' markets, avoiding highly processed fast foods, and cooking healthier versions of traditional soul food.”

A Place at the Table

Coming March 1st, A Place at the Table is a new documentary film about hunger in America. It addresses the need for continued strong funding of federal nutrition programs, like SNAP (food stamps), which help keep millions of American families from going hungry.

Film description from

“Fifty million people in the U.S.—including one in five children—don’t know where their next meal is coming from. Directors Kristi Jacobson and Lori Silverbush examine the issue of hunger in America through the lens of three people struggling with food insecurity: Barbie, a single Philadelphia mother who grew up in poverty and is trying to provide a better life for her two kids; Rosie, a Colorado fifth-grader who often has to depend on friends and neighbors to feed her and has trouble concentrating in school; and Tremonica, a Mississippi second-grader whose asthma and health issues are exacerbated by the largely empty calories her hardworking mother can afford.

Ultimately, A Place at the Table shows us how hunger poses serious economic, social and cultural implications for our nation, and that it could be solved once and for all, if the American public decides – as they have in the past – that making healthy food available and affordable is in the best interest of us all.”

Indeed, hunger exists everywhere across America, including in our own backyards. More than 112,000 children receive free or reduced price lunch in the 7 counties Inter-Faith Food Shuttle serves.  What's more, 58 percent of those struggling with hunger across the  nation have incomes above the federal poverty level. Find out how you can help locally at