What we do
Inter-Faith Food Shuttle is an innovative hunger-relief organization serving seven counties in and around the Triangle. We believe hunger IS fixable if the community works together to do two things: create sources of healthy food in every low-income neighborhood and grow opportunities for people to provide for themselves by learning job skills or growing their own food. From BackPack Buddies to nutrition education, mobile markets to culinary job training to urban agriculture training, we go directly to people in need and create what works to empower them. We feed. We teach. We grow…to create a hunger-free and healthy community. Read more about the history of IFFS from Co-Founder and Emeritus CEO Jill Staton Bullard.
Our Mission: Inter-Faith Food Shuttle pioneers innovative, transformative solutions designed to end hunger in our community.
What’s the problem?
In our 7 county service area alone (Wake, Durham, Orange, Chatham, Johnston, Nash, and Edgecombe), over 275,000 people are food insecure and may not know where their next meal is coming from. Each day there are thousands of people in our community who wake up hungry and have no means to satisfy this basic human need. Some have lost their jobs. Some hold two jobs. The challenges of daily survival for these individuals and their families are daunting and don’t simply disappear. Read/listen to their stories here.
People are hungry for two main reasons:
- lack of income to purchase sufficient food
- lack of access to good food
Ultimately, the root of hunger lies in poverty and our impoverished communities.
Children are especially vulnerable to hunger.
- 1 in 4 children in North Carolina is at risk for hunger
- Over 116,000 children applied to receive free or reduced lunch last year through our public schools in the 7 counties Inter-Faith Food Shuttle serves
At the same time that families are struggling to put food on the table, good food is going to waste.
40% of food in the United States today goes uneaten, which equates to more than 20 pounds per person each month.
What are we doing about it?
We can solve hunger, but only if we work together as a community. We approach hunger from many different angles and with many partners to build a community food system for all. Beyond feeding people in the short term, our programs focus on long-term workforce development, community economic development, skills training and nutrition education.
We rescue food that would have gone to waste from food donors such as grocery stores and the State Farmers Market, as well as glean fresh produce from local farmers’ fields and make sure it gets into the hands and bellies of our neighbors in need. We distribute over 7 million pounds of recovered food directly to families—especially children and seniors— living in food deserts through our food truck, Mobile Markets, School Pantries, Grocery Bags for Seniors, and BackPack Buddies. We focus on making sure all people have access to fresh, nutritious food. Over 40% of what we distribute is fresh produce. In the summer months, fresh produce constitutes almost half of the food we distribute to our neighbors in need!
Through cooking classes, grocery store tours, and food demonstrations, we empower families and individuals with the knowledge and skills to purchase, prepare, and eat nutritious food on a limited budget.
We train unemployed or underemployed adults with culinary skills to obtain meaningful jobs in commercial kitchens through our Culinary Job Training Program. Culinary students and interns stabilize donated or gleaned fresh produce by cooking it into nutritious meals, which are distributed through partner programs and agencies, our Food Truck, and summer meals for children.
“We may have grown up poor, but never knew it. Everyone had a garden, so we always had food to eat.” – Senator Vernon Malone
We provide opportunities for people of all ages to learn about the food system and how to grow their own food, so that with or without a source of income, people always have a source of nourishment. Our Teaching Farm is a community classroom, connecting people to where food comes from and educating about sustainable agriculture. It’s all part of meeting the need today while moving beyond emergency food provision to sustainable, local solutions to food hardship.
Where are we?
We work across 7 different counties in the Triangle region: Wake, Durham, Orange, Chatham, Johnston, Edgecombe, and Nash. Find directions to our Headquarters and growing centers here.