Since the beginning of 2020, the Rural Advancement Foundation International-USA’s (RAFI-USA) Come to the Table (CTTT) program has awarded technical assistance grants to support almost 100 churches throughout North Carolina who were responding to the increased food insecurity in their communities caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The mini-grants provided funding for churches to purchase food from local growers or local restaurants to distribute in their communities. Through these mini-grants, CTTT has been able to connect churches with members of RAFI-USA’s Farmers of Color Network to purchase from.
This summer, the Come to the Table team has been on the move! CTTT staff have visited 23 faith communities since May 1, all while following COVID-19 safety protocols. On each visit, we learned more about each church’s food programming and saw the imaginative ways faith communities are reaching their community. Below, CTTT team members reflect on what they have learned from site visits.
Michelle Osborne, Come to the Table Senior Program Manager:
“I have really enjoyed getting to visit with faith communities partnering with farmers across the state. I’m especially grateful for Calvary Memorial UMC and Germanton UMC who introduced me to the farmers they partnered with on my site visit.”
Jarred White, Farm and Faith Partnerships Project Manager:
“I have enjoyed experiencing the creativity of our partners across the state. Each food ministry has responded to the challenges of their context and the needs of their community members with empathy, passion, and purpose. Trenton UMC does this well, through offering a choice pantry that maintains client independence, while practicing social distancing.”
David Allen, Come to the Table Program Coordinator:
“I’ve been moved by the intentionality of many food ministries, specifically the way that groups have considered who they are serving and made changes to match cultural needs. Community UMC in Butner did this by adding signs in Spanish and re-fashioning their pantry to feature desired items after surveying community members.”
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