The holidays are full of many wonderful things, but giving to those in need is a touch above the rest. There are several organizations that serve their community year-round, and others that do especially great things to give back around the holidays.
TABLE is a Carrboro faith nonprofit committed to providing healthy food to hungry children in Chapel Hill and Carrboro year-round.
“We have been around since 2008 and we accomplish our mission through a backpack program that lasts all year long,” said Ashton Tippins, executive director of TABLE. “We provide non-perishables and fresh produce every week so the kids have foods they need for weekends and can participate well in school.”
Tippins also said they have a nutrition education program they use to teach children about healthy foods, why they are important, and where they come from.
TABLE functions with just three full-time staff members and three part-time staff members. The rest are all volunteers.
“We usually depend on about 120 people a week and that doesn’t include all of our interns and event committee,” Tippins said. “The majority of that 120 help to sort, organize and date food and bag and deliver food for our backpack program as well as prepare healthy snacks and interact with our kids so they learn how to eat healthy, too.”
TABLE always delivers additional food to children before a break in school. They make extra deliveries over Thanksgiving and Christmas.
The Urban Ministries of Durham is also committed to helping the community, and do so by combatting homelessness and poverty.
“We provide food, shelter and a future to our neighbors in need,” said Sheldon Mitchell, executive director of Urban Ministries of Durham. “Currently we are the largest public shelter in Durham.”
Urban Ministries of Durham provides housing every night to approximately 160 men, women and children.
“We also run a community café where we serve breakfast, lunch and dinner 7 days a week, 365 days a year,” Mitchell said. “We also operate a resource center where households from the community as well as residents can select clothing items based on their needs and family size.”
Urban Ministries of Durham has several groups that come out to ensure that people have a happy holiday season. Local churches come out to prepare traditional Thanksgiving and Christmas items.
“We rely very heavily on volunteers,” Mitchell said. “We had over 4000 individual volunteers last fiscal year, so they are very much an integral part of Urban Ministries being able to serve the community.”
The Inter-Faith Council for Social Service in Chapel Hill and Carrboro was started in 1963 by seven local women with the desire to address poverty in the community.
“We have continued on through 55 years to confront the causes of poverty in our community,” said Anna Macdonald, director of development. “We have residential services that have shelter for men, women and children, as well as a permanent supportive housing program.”
They also have community programs such as a kitchen and emergency assistance.
“People have needs year-round and we are here to meet those needs,” Macdonald said. “The community kitchen is open seven days a week even on Thanksgiving and Christmas and so are the shelters.”
Inter-Faith Council for Social Service also has a fundraiser where over 100 local restaurants agree to donate a portion of their receipts on their RSVVP day. Community partners also host benefit concerts on the organization’s behalf or organize food drives.
“We depend heavily on volunteers, so we have volunteers who cook in our kitchen, volunteers who run our food pantry, and volunteers that serve as receptionists,” Macdonald said. “At the shelters, they come and cook or offer programming for our residents there.”
Donations to the Council are appreciated and can include items such as non-perishable food, prepared food and bulk items, shampoo, razors and other hygiene products.