Holy Cross Social Action Update: Walking, Gardening, Serving

Catholic Charities Durham Community Food Pantry preparing to reopen

“We walk for you and others in need.”

That’s how Deborah Hilliard said she responded when asked about the t-shirts they were wearing, and “What are you doing?” by several homeless individuals and neighborhood residents that she and her walking partners encountered this past Sunday morning.

Debbie Hilliard, family and friendsDebbie and her group of 15 or so were on a mission: to raise funds for the Durham CROP Hunger Walk. Front: Front: Kamden, Kaden, and Debbie's brother Anthony Wilson; back: Joseph and Debbie Hilliard)

The annual event typically has thousands of individuals and families walking together along a designated path in Durham (and in other cities across the U.S. and around the world) to help raise funds for agencies and organizations that provide vital resources for those in need. Debbie has been Holy Cross's Durham CROP Hunger Walk coordinator for several years; the event is one of the parish's ongoing Social Action opportunities. (You can read about the history of the CROP Hunger Walks, which goes back to the end of World War II.) 

The Durham CROP Hunger Walk was a different kind of event this year. Due to Covid-19 constraints, the organizers made it a virtual event, with ‘walkers’ deciding for themselves what kind of an outdoor activity they would engage in, while maintaining the six-foot minimum distance between people, as specified to help avoid the spread of the coronavirus. 

Other Holy Cross parishioners participating in this year’s Virtual Durham CROP Hunger Walk were Judy Smith-Gill, Ava Thompson and Anna Rzewnicki. Click here to access the Durham CROP Hunger Walk donation site, to contribute on behalf of the parish’s individual ‘walkers’ or the entire parish team. Enter Holy Cross Catholic Church in the 'team member' field to donate to the parish's account, or enter an individual walker's name to donate in name of that person.

Note that a portion of the funds raised are shared with organizations serving the needy in the community here, including several organizations served by Holy Cross volunteers. 

Judy, who was not able to participate in person this year due to a medical procedure (not related to the coronovirus), did participate in spirit and is supported by a number of donors.

"I was able to get some sponsors prior to this horrible virus consuming how we live our lives," she said. "I have been walking for a number of years now and l do look forward to it. It is my hope to continue walking and helping to eradicate world hunger with each step I take."

Anna, who is coordinator of the Holy Cross Sharing Garden, spent several hours working with six other parishioners who came out to help build new beds and start planting seeds in the garden.

Like the annual CROP Hunger Walk, the garden’s focus is on helping to alleviate hunger by growing produce for distribution through the Catholic Charities Durham Food Pantry. Households can also rent a garden bed to plant and grow produce for their own use. Click here for an update on the garden project and how you can get involved.

Volunteers Needed as Durham Community Food Pantry Reopens on April 15

Holy Cross also is active in another food-related service: contributing to and assisting staff at the Catholic Charities’ Durham Community Food Pantry. Like so many outreach programs, it has been closed due to the coronavirus, but is scheduled to reopen for distribution on Wednesday, April 15.  

“I am calling to recruit volunteers for next week,” David Juarez Torres, program director at the Durham Community Food Pantry, wrote in a recent email message to Deacon Phil Rzewnicki and other volunteers.

“We are only able to do the work we do with enough volunteers,” Torres said in his message. “As many of you work with or know of people looking (for) volunteering opportunities, please send them our way!”

Those interested should send an email message to Moira Roberts, volunteer coordinator. Her email address is DCFPvolcoord@ccharitiesdor.org

The Durham Community Food Pantry “anticipates serving HIGH number of families each week upon reopening and will be implementing procedures that require the coordination of training and information in anticipation of doing so,” Torres said.

Following are the Food Pantry’s current volunteer needs. 

  • Tuesday Mornings (9 AM -2 PM): Receiving, unloading and sorting of goods, donations, food products and food deliveries.
  • Wednesdays (9 AM – 3 PM): Food distribution to clients, including various duties such as intake interviews (done over the phone, not physically), food packaging and preparation of food orders, warehouse organization and general support.
Tags: Opportunities to serve the community, Durham Community Food Pantry, Durham Virtual 0CROP Hunger Walk

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