Sunday Supper on April 29 is a chance to make a difference -- Lisa Perkins

Lisa Perkins
Lisa Perkins

Durham is well noted as a great place to live, with world-class universities, medical centers and entertainment. Our workforce is world class as well, whether they are driving global businesses in Research Triangle Park or fueling start-ups downtown.

Yet in Durham County, over 50,000 individuals live in food-insecure homes, and more than half of school children receive a free or reduced-price school lunch. Unfortunately, far too many individuals in our community are unsure, at times, of where to find their next healthy meal, an indication of food insecurity.

At the heart of what has made the Bull City the great place that it is, is the can-do, community spirit of the people who live and work here. Durham has always been a community that comes together to serve neighbors in need.

The upcoming Sunday Supper Durham on April 29 is a great example of how Durham’s community spirit and entrepreneurial passion can come together to make a difference.

The Sunday Supper Durham is a unique opportunity to break bread with people from across Durham in the amphitheater at the American Tobacco Campus. The space will be transformed into a setting that encourages dialogue among strangers and provides an opportunity to bring us closer as a community. The event will be complete with a communal meal featuring selections from some of the best local Durham vendors, along with great live music and entertainment.

Catholic Charities is honored to have been chosen by The Sunday Supper, along with End Hunger Durham, as a beneficiary of this unique event. For over 30 years, Catholic Charities has been dedicated to serving our neighbors in Durham. We are also excited to have our partners, End Hunger Durham, receive support to help them continue to empower food pantry clients overcome barriers to acquiring sufficient healthy food.

There is a high demand for food in our community, and current food pantries, which have faithfully served the community, are already at capacity for how many people they can serve. This year, with the help of the April 29 Sunday Supper, we are excited about greatly expanding our services to Durham by opening the Durham Community Food Pantry with the goal of meeting this demand.

This large-scale food pantry will partner with and supplement the work of the current community food pantries to fill the estimated 1 million pound food shortage that currently exists in Durham County, and the half-million pound food shortage that exists in Orange County. The goal of this facility is to serve 4,500 individuals each month and distribute 1.5 million pounds of food each year by 2021.

I believe the most important thing that a community can do is show care and concern for our neighbors in need. I also believe a lot can be accomplished with an engaging conversation over a good meal. I invite our entire community to come out and join me in fellowship at The Sunday Supper in Durham on Sunday, April 29. The Sunday Supper is the perfect example of the community approach Catholic Charities hopes to bring to the Durham Community Food Pantry.

For more information about this event, to volunteer, or to get your seat at the table, please visit www.SundaySupperDurham.com. Please join me for what I know will be an incredible event. We can take this opportunity to say as one community that we will not let our brothers and sisters continue to struggle with putting a meal on the table at night. I look forward to seeing you there.

Lisa Perkins is the executive director of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Raleigh.