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PORCH program collects food for needy

People Offering Relief for Chapel Hill-Carrboro Homes in Orange County collects food that's delivered to five foot pantries in Chapel Hill and Carrboro.

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It all started with cans of tuna.

Six months ago, a small group of stay-at-home moms went on a mission to help a local food bank, and it led to 53 neighborhoods working together to feed the hungry in Chapel Hill and Carrboro.

Susan Romaine and her two friends created the monthly program, People Offering Relief for Chapel Hill-Carrboro Homes, where volunteers collect non-perishable food that homeowners leave on their porches for those less fortunate.

Once all of the food is collected, volunteers sort it, and then it is delivered to five food pantries in Chapel Hill and Carrboro.

"People say that they're happy, coming to help us, and their neighbors are thanking them, because they're giving to their neighbors by giving them an opportunity to donate and making it so easy to donate,” PORCH organizer Christine Cotton said.

The group went from collecting in one neighborhood to making nearly 700 pickups in 53 neighborhoods each month.

Since it started, it’s collected more than 1,300 bags of groceries.

The program has also captured the attention of Redbook magazine, which featured it in the November issue.

After the article, Romaine and Cotton say they were contacted by women in seven states who want to start their own programs.

The first kicks off in Simi, Calif., next month.



Tom Normanly, Photographer
Kelly Gardner, Web Editor

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