Interfaith Food Shuttle
supervisor: Christain Ferney
One of the first things about Duke that was stressed to me was how important the relationship between Duke University and the greater Durham community was. I was lucky to be part of a Kenan program that connected us with Durham through a nonprofit, and got the chance to work with Interfaith Food Shuttle in a number of ways. Interfaith’s mission is threefold: feed, teach, grow. One of Interfaith’s programs meant to fight childhood hunger was called backpack buddies, a school-based program that provided foods both during the school week and over the weekend. They provide food, but also make efforts to teach self sufficiency, and maintain several gardens in the triangle area where communities can grow their own food. In my time with Interfaith, I helped sort donations in their warehouse, pack meals for their backpack buddies program, worked in their gardens, and performed administrative tasks. Interfaith’s mission touched close to home, and the organization found ways to integrate themselves into the community. I found it really amazing how they adapted their mission to the changing urban landscape, and had the opportunity to work in one of their urban gardens. They made use of existing infrastructure and administrative systems in order to reach the most people with their sustainable food initiatives. I believe this experience’s relevance to my Grand Challenge Focus lies in the ways nonprofits leverage existing systems to meet demands and carry out their missions. Urbanization and population growth will only put more strain on our existing food systems, and Interfaith Food Shuttles sustainable and self sufficient methods will become increasingly relevant as we urbanize.