Founded in 1989, the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle feeds our neighbors, teaches self-sufficiency, grows healthy foods, and cultivates innovative approaches to end hunger.
Through collaboration and partnership, our organization has learned the importance of taking in community input, commitment to service, and responsive communication. Within our central North Carolina community, we seek to understand the root causes of hunger, which calls for unpacking the socioeconomic issues that perpetuate food injustices and cycles of poverty and hunger. This includes asking tough questions like: How do systemic barriers translate into hunger within our community? And what can we do to dismantle those barriers? The Food Shuttle works to properly address and solve those questions through collaboration. Our organization’s commitment to seeking solutions has led to numerous and diverse partnerships, including Feeding America, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, Food Lion, and the City of Raleigh, to name a few. No matter the partnership, the incentive remains the same: help end hunger for our neighbors in need. Through our correspondence, we have learned about the changing needs of our neighbors. In our vision for a hunger free community, sustainability comes from the adaptability of applicable resources. Hunger is a complex issue, and it takes more than just ‘putting food on the table’ to solve.
Our organization has prioritized identifying the root causes of inequality and disparity. It’s important to understand the systemic harm our society perpetuates upon communities of color, and the positive impact our organization can make through collaboration and connection. Efforts to achieve a more equitable society include research on food insecurity within Black, Indigenous and People of Color, and immigrants. It takes incorporating staff with lived experiences to help align our goals and examining the relationship-based impact we can make. The Food Shuttle incorporates a more holistic perspective for measuring impact, as opposed to focusing solely on our food outputs. We analyze the quantity of food and supplies resourced, but also measure how these initiatives are implemented. As a starting point in this work, the Food Shuttle created a county-by-county Community Needs Data Assessments of our service territory in central North Carolina.
Our commitment to excellence is demonstrated through our partnerships, programs, and flexibility as an organization. Our partnerships with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of NC, Chiesi USA and Feeding America are just three examples of the hundreds of partnerships grounded in excellence and responsiveness. One of the Food Shuttle’s core values is to serve with excellence, compassion, and responsiveness to meet the needs of those with whom we work, internally and externally. We combat hunger through multiple outlets, offering diverse services based on our 4 pillars of FEED, TEACH, GROW, and CULTIVATE. Our vast programs span from emergency food offerings, to cooking classes, a 14-acre farm, a food truck, and agricultural and community health education. Our services operate within a socioeconomic structure that works against equitable solutions to food insecurity, so it’s incredibly important that we remain committed to excellence and access.
The effects of the global pandemic of COVID-19 led to a 547% increase in food spending for the Food Shuttle. The pandemic directly attributed to a much higher rate of families faced with hunger during initial lockdowns, job terminations and acclimation to remote learning and working environments. As the needs of our community changed, our organization changed with it, adapting COVID-friendly initiatives such as a virtual education options and contactless food distributions. The demands placed on our organization have been challenging, but they have also hyper-focused our organization’s goal of health and food equity for our communities. In these times of uncertainty, it’s important that the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle remain a constant source of support for our neighbors in need.