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For the past two years, I have had the opportunity to volunteer with PORCH Durham as a delivery person to school food pantries. PORCH Durham is a community-based nonprofit that supports the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle’s school pantries and Backpack Buddies programs. Taking a few hours out of my busy schedule each month, I shuttle large boxes of nonperishable items to schools across Durham County. I get there in the morning, right after the school day starts. The halls are filled with cheerful kids, excited for what the day has in store. But how many of those kids are hungry?
More than you’d think. In Durham County alone, 66 percent of public school students receive free or reduced-price lunches. That’s over 22,400 kids. Statewide, the number increases to 52 percent, or 749,000 public school students who are at risk of hunger. Hungry kids can’t learn and are at increased risk of developmental and health problems.
I built Unity on the belief that when organizations build a culture of giving they can drive real change. A commitment to the triple bottom line was written into the business plan from the beginning. And a big part of that commitment is choosing a North Carolina-based nonprofit to receive a percentage of our profits in an end-of-year gift.
Starting the business in late 2016, we only had a few months to build a profit. But I knew I wanted our first donation to help make an impact on the lives of these kids. And I also know that every little bit can help so we donated $1,000 (5.9% of our profits) to Inter-Faith Food Shuttle (IFFS). This innovative hunger-relief organization serves seven counties in and around the Triangle. From BackPack Buddies to nutrition education, mobile markets to urban agriculture and culinary job training, they go directly to people in need and create what works to empower them.
Unity was born out of the values to act with authenticity, integrity, and humility, and to be the change we want to see in the world. We're committed to working with people making a difference, and feel it’s essential that we play our part within our community as well. My appreciation of IFFS, more specifically the school pantry program, became the motivation for giving. I am so pleased that I chose Inter-Faith Food Shuttle to be the first recipient of Unity's annual philanthropic gift.
Outside of individual giving, businesses play an integral role in the donation of time and money to nonprofits. At Unity, we understand that nonprofits are out there fighting to make the world a better place, and they stand a better chance of driving real change with the support of their community. I hope that this inaugural gift is the first of many and we can expand our efforts to help in additional ways as we grow.