An estimated 1 in 5 Durham County households cannot put regular meals on the table. Food insecurity has no single face, color, ethnicity, nationality, gender, or sexual orientation. Food insecurity weakens our communities because it leads to poor health and lower education outcomes. It creates an additional obstacle to economic wellbeing. The burden of food security has fallen especially on Durham’s African-American and immigrant communities and has worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic.
These portraits show some of the inspiring people who have responded to this crisis by supplying free food to those in need. They are among the many ‘Durhamites’ who run food pantries, cook meals, and give away the vegetables, breads, and dairy products they produce.
Rhonda Klevansky, a native of South Africa, is a Durham-based photographer, writer, and filmmaker with a strong interest in using video and photography as tools for advocacy. She felt the need to bring attention to the realities of food insecurity in our county and to those who are working to address the problem.
YOU, TOO, CAN HELP.
Consider a contribution to Food for Durham, a campaign supporting local nonprofits in securing food, equipment, and other necessities for feeding the community during COVID-19 and beyond.
Visit Feeding Durham Together, the volunteer portal of the Triangle Nonprofit & Volunteer Leadership Center, to learn how you can help out at area food relief agencies.
Reaching Out to Durham’s Hungry is also on view at Bull McCabe’s, Durham Arts Council, Durham Central Park, and Museum of Durham History.
For this exhibition, we acknowledge the Occaneechi and Eno peoples whose lands include what is known today as Durham, North Carolina. We recognize those people for whom these were ancestral lands as well as the many Indigenous people who live and work in the region today. We acknowledge the humanity, inherent value, and labor of enslaved Africans brought to this country and that of their descendants; and the immigrants and migrants who have and continue to contribute to the life and prosperity of American communities.
This statement is inspired by one used at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University. It was seeded by Spring 2019 Lehman Brady Professor Myron Dewey and the Duke Native American Student Alliance. Written by Courtney Reid-Eaton.
David Juarez (Durham Community Food Pantry):
David Juarez directs the Durham Community Food Pantry, a program run by the Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Raleigh. Before the Covid-19 pandemic they fed about 1,000 people, and by January 2021, this number had grown to over 5,000 with three distributions a week.
Laura Meyers (Porch-Durham):
Laura Meyers, is Executive Director of PORCH-Durham, a decade-old organization dedicated to helping children and families of Durham County who are facing hunger. Since March of 2020, PORCH-Durham has provided 75,000 pounds of nonperishable and fresh foods to schools and community pantries and more than $200,000 in emergency grocery cards to families in crisis.
Lilton Evans, Jr. (dedicated to growing food):
Lilton Evans, Jr. has been helping grow food since his retirement ten years ago. Born and raised on a Virginia farm, he served in the Air Force, and spent 39 years as a steel cutter for military contractors. Now he volunteers with Urban Community AgriNomics and Briggs Ave. Community Garden, and harvests crops with the Society of St. Andrews.
Theresia McGee (Hannah’s Community Kitchen):
Theresia McGee runs Hannah’s Community Kitchen, which served more than 5,500 households during 2020. This food was made possible by volunteers, along with the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina, USDA, and local churches.