Local News

Food shuttle bringing eats, jobs to Durham

Posted September 18, 2009 3:40 p.m. EDT
Updated September 18, 2009 6:51 p.m. EDT

— The Inter-Faith Food Shuttle recently expanded its presence in Durham, opening its first office in the Bull City to provide food, education and eventually jobs to the city's needy residents.

"We allow people to access more food, healthier food, better food more regularly," said Jill Staton Bullard, co-founder and executive director of the food shuttle, which serves seven counties in the Triangle area.

The organization picks up food that would otherwise get thrown out from restaurants and stores. The food is then rerouted to shelters, soup kitchens and after-school programs.

"Now, we'll have a truck five days a week, recovering food from Durham donors," Staton Bullard said, noting shuttle drivers previously made just two trips a week to Durham.

The Durham office will expand the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle's efforts in Durham in other ways as well, she said. Nutrition classes and Backpack Buddies, a program that sends meals home on the weekends with children who might not otherwise eat, will be offered through the office, she said.

"It is only by working together that we can change a community. We've seen it in other counties. Now it's going to happen in Durham County," Staton Bullard said.

Eventually, the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle hopes to provide job training through the Durham office as well.

Terri Hutter, a former chef at the Washington Duke Inn, runs the organization's culinary jobs program for people who are unemployed or in low-paying jobs. Eight people graduated from the 11-week program Friday, becoming the 48th group of people to complete the course.

"They are trained in safe food handling as well as culinary techniques," Hutter said.

Joel Matthews is one of the students in the program in Raleigh.

"I love to cook, and I like to see people smile when they eat," Matthews said. "Hopefully, (I can) be a chef one day."

Hutter said she has seen more demand for the jobs program in recent months because of the increasing number of people who have been laid off. She said she hopes to expand the program to the Durham office in the next year.

For more information on the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle, call 919-250-0043 or visit foodshuttle.org.