40 for 40

#40for40: Camden Street Garden
May 2, 2019

It is so wonderful to see how many acts of kindness our colleagues have completed as we head into our fifth month of our fortieth anniversary celebration! It has been such an enriching and humbling project to record these acts of kindness, whether they begin as a company initiative or as a personal one. Many of our colleagues at Maupin Travel have gone above and beyond not only to commit acts of kindness in their own lives, but to share them openly as part of our celebration. We’ve had everything from 5k runs to hospice dinners, and each initiative has been inspiring in its own way. To celebrate the warmer weather and the change in seasons, Maupin Travel partnered with Inter-Faith Food Shuttle to work for a day in one of their urban learning gardens. Our first impression was that we’d be planting seeds and tending to the weeds, but the folks at IFFS had other ideas! As three employees from Maupin combed through soil to remove glass and trash from beds the farm will use for food crops this year; the remains of what was once an empty lot smack dab in the middle of downtown Raleigh, it became clear very quickly how important the work Inter-Faith Food Shuttle is doing for our community.

Founded thirty years ago, the mission of Inter-Faith Food Shuttle is to “pioneer innovative, transformative solutions designed to end hunger in our community”. As a nonpartisan, 501c3 non-profit organization and member of the Feeding America National Network of Food Banks, IFFS feeds, teaches, and grows to create a hunger-free and healthy community.

A statement from their website confirms how impactful their programs are: “All of our programs seek to support low-income families living in food deserts without adequate access to nutritious food and without the income to purchase healthy meals.  By partnering with churches and community housing, almost 7,000 people in low-income neighborhoods shop for free at 25 Mobile Markets right where they live. Volunteers deliver bags of fresh produce, some grown on our own farm, to almost 2,000 seniors. Almost 5,000 children receive nutritious meals through BackPack Buddies, School Pantries, and our food truck. All told, by partnering with 200 agencies, schools and community centers, almost 60,000 adults and children struggling with hunger receive healthy food on average every month.  Additionally, more than 5,000 individuals participate in our cooking and gardening programs, strengthening their self-sufficiency, increasing their consumption of fresh produce, and becoming more food literate.”

Through their online volunteer portal, individuals and companies can choose a date and time slot to volunteer at an IFFS location, including the Camden Street and Geer Street Gardens. Felicia Lorelli, Susan Camden, and Jasmine Rochelle recently volunteered at the Camden Street location, helping to finish crop beds the organization will use to plant many of the fresh foods  that are vital to their community operations and classrooms. After a short tour of the garden, the Maupin ladies were put to work. Working together in the garden provided both an opportunity to learn more about the IFFS operations and about each other. There’s nothing quite like digging in the dirt to bring a group together; by the end of the two hours they’d discussed where they’d grown up, each other’s families and kids, and even started their own inter-office flower exchange. Felicia’s yard will soon be full of Jasmine’s Hostas and Susan’s Daylilies…whether she likes it or not! If there is one lesson to be taken from a year of committing to kindness, it’s that it brings out the best in everyone. Colleagues have an opportunity to see each other in a different light; a brighter light. With two different office locations, being able to participate in these events together has breathed new life into our team!

If you would like to learn more about the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle or volunteer, please visit their website. Thank you to everyone at IFFS for allowing us to volunteer at the Camden Street Garden!