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  • Writer's pictureBenay Hicks

Feeding Bellies & the Soul

By Benay Hicks, Communications Manager

“Food for the body is not enough. There must be food for the soul.” –Dorothy Day

There are some seriously incredible people in Durham. When the pandemic shut everything down in March, community members immediately pulled together to provide food for those who needed it. Restaurants, though deep in the midst of their own struggles, used local ingredients and made meals for Durham children as part of the Durham FEAST initiative (now Eat NC); faith communities created food pantries and to-go meals; and a Durham high school student even started an initiative that provides 200 free healthy meals a day, 5 days a week!

It was so inspiring to see the community rally together in the early days of the COVID-19 trauma, and to see many of those initiatives become part of the Durham tapestry as we continue to wrestle with the pandemic.

While books don’t feed the belly, they certainly feed the soul, and Book Harvest knew that books needed to go hand-in-hand with the food that was being distributed. Through Book Harvest’s Well Fed, Well Read program, nearly 25,000 books have been provided to families in Durham. The program has continued in partnership with Durham Public Schools this winter. One of Book Harvest’s AmeriCorps members, Christian, prepares bags of age-appropriate books and safely distributes them at DPS lunch drop-off sites each week.

Our community Book Bank partners are also including books with their food distributions, and we are thrilled to help them nourish minds & bellies. Book Harvest’s Book Bank Manager, Caitlyn, received a kind note this week that touched our hearts:

Dear Caitlyn,Yesterday afternoon, we gathered with a couple of volunteers to start sorting and bagging the books for our Food Pantry book give-away. We were beyond thrilled when we opened your boxes and saw how many gorgeous, wonderful new books you gave us! We are even more excited now to be able to share these books with the families who come for food. Also, we had no idea you were giving us books in Spanish. That is an incredible bonus for most of the families we serve. I only regret that in our haste, we forgot to take photos of the tables full of books before we started bagging them into your colorful string backpacks. Those backpacks are the perfect way for us to present the books to the families. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! We love Book Harvest and feel so privileged to be able to work with you.

All best wishes for a joyful holiday, Margaret and Miguel

Book Harvest not only believes in an abundance of books and support for every parent, but it also believes in the power of community. We are proud to work with such wonderful organizations to ensure that the mind, the body, and the soul, are well fed.


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