Community Service at TABLE

The first week in May is a feel good week. The days are brighter. Summer is near. Even better is we get to go out in the community and give back. This year we returned to TABLE’s new location in Carrboro, North Carolina.

Prior to our visit, we learn that not every child comes to school with a breakfast and a lunch. Furthermore, they often go home to a bare pantry. TABLE volunteers provide food to some students in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City School on Friday so they will have food for the weekend.

We loaded up Mrs. Donnelly’s car with suggested donations and headed to our destination. After learning a bit more from Laura, we began to unload her car with food purchased that day. Yes, a ton of it. Literally.

Our next task was to unpack the food and clearly label the expiration date. There was spaghetti for days. Everyone worked efficiently and collaboratively, stepping into leadership roles as they arose.

The final stage was an assembly line effort to fill each bag for each student with the necessary items so they have nutritious food for the weekend. Once again, everyone worked at lightning speed with a huge smile. We began with a bag and some crackers.

Next, tuna and soup were added.

Following that, we included oatmeal, a granola bar, a fruit cup, macaroni, and then juice boxes.

At the end of the line, it was important to have our quality control team to make sure we had the correct number of items.

Nothing is wasted. We made sure that the boxes were recycled before we headed back to school.

So proud of this crew! They worked nonstop for almost two hours that afternoon. Children helping children. Thank you TABLE and Laura for allowing us to give back in such a meaningful way. We are grateful for the parents who coordinated and came on this adventure with us as well as donating even more food. It was an all around feel good day.

If you have plastic bags you want to recycle, 1,100 were used for that Friday’s delivery. You can drop them off in the white box near the back door of TABLE. If you’d like to donate food or your time, please contact Laura for specifics. There is always more to do.

End Hunger

Photos by Patti Donnelly

Photos by Patti Donnelly

My grandfather, Dr. Ralph Cummings, was a farmer from Reidsville, North Carolina. He graduated first in his class at Reidsville High School in 1928. Growing up, he was my grandfather of course, but I always knew he was known for his contribution to the Green Revolution that fed millions of people worldwide. He made the connection between what some North Carolina farmers were facing with what developing countries were up against. He had a vision.

He went from Raleigh, North Carolina to Peru and then developed a system that made it possible to grow crops during the monsoon season while working with the Rockefeller Foundation in India. My grandfather “arranged the first import of high-yielding wheat varieties (developed by his colleague, Dr. Norman Borlaug, who won the Nobel Peace Prize for that contribution) which transformed India’s agriculture.” Perspectives  The year I was born, he returned to NC State as a professor before heading the international crop research institutes in the Philippines and India. ICRISAT My grandfather received the International Agricultural Service Award from the American Society of Agronomy and the 1988 Presidential End Hunger Award from USAID.

I always wanted to do what he did. I was not sure how, but I wanted to use my knowledge or strengths to change lives. I do not have a green thumb as much as he tried to share his back yard garden expertise. However, even the smallest of acts make a difference. At Durham Academy, we are fortunate to be able to spend time giving back to our community. Yesterday we traveled almost an hour to a field in Fuquay Varina to glean sweet potatoes. The students were told that this practice is thousands of years old. Food was left behind for those who perhaps needed it most. Much of what we see in grocery stores has to be a perfect size or shape. Food is food.

DSC_9414Student gleaning sweet potato left behind from the harvest

We spent almost two hours searching for delicious sweet potatoes that would be trucked to several local churches and a food bank in Durham, NC. One potato, the size of the one pictured above, can feed two people. It takes a team of dedicated volunteers and community members to make this happen. We are grateful to the Society of St. Andrew for creating this opportunity for young and old to give back. I am not leading an institute like my grandfather, but I am modeling what learning and giving back can do for not only yourself but your neighbor and the world ~ one decision and one person at a time. What will you decide to do with your time and talent today?



Community Service – Gleaning

DSC_4272sweet potatoPhotos by Patti Donnelly

What happens to leftover food in the fields? On Wednesday, 48 6th graders rode an hour from school to an open field in North Carolina. In about two hours we gleaned 4,230 pounds of sweet potatoes that would have gone to waste. We worked with the Society of St. Andrew-NC who distributed 4,000 pounds to New Focus Community Mission in Enfield, North Carolina, and 230 pounds to individuals in need.

DSC_4290 bags of potatoes 2013

A donation of $20 will provide one person with the USDA recommended requirement of vegetables and fruits every day for two months. Checks can be made out to the Society of St. Andrew and mailed to: P.O.Box 25081 Durham, NC 27702-5081.  Or you can donate online.

DSC_4341 BrandonCaveny 2013

DSC_4375 IsabellaStrauss 2013


What are you doing to help our community?

Community Service by Norman






On wednesday it was a half day and the other half of the day was community service. Our advisory re-mulched the beds of trees, bushes and flowers. When we ran out of mulch, someone went down to the mulch pile in the passengers seat of a John Deere and helped load it with more. After 2 bushes, 3 trees, and 1 flower bed, we were done. It felt good to help the school.


Community Service Blog by Jack H

At school we have community service twice a year. At the beginning of the year we went sweet potato picking. We also have one at the end of the year and for that one we went to a place called TABLE. Because some kids cannot afford food they get school lunches but on the weekend they have no food to eat. TABLE helps with that problem by sending food home with them. We donated food to TABLE by bringing 260.5 pounds of food. We did a few different things while we were there. For instance, we wrote the expiration date on the cans so they knew when the food expired. Then after that we split into teams and put the food where it was supposed to go on the shelves. Then some friends and I went outside and swept the porch and the steps to the porch. If I had a chance to do it again I would.


Community Service by Shaylen

In Durham Academy sixth grade there comes a time where every advisory does a community service. In my advisory we went strawberry picking. We were given a wooden box to put our strawberries in. When I finished my first box I picked some for my family, well time ran out. I was time to take all of the berries to the Ronald McDonald House. That is a place where families come from all over to stay if they have a kid with an illness; also if they can’t afford to stay at a hotel. I really enjoyed doing this. It showed me where people are in this world. I am proud of doing this and I want to do it again!

Community Service by Sylvia








Photo by Sylvia

Last Wednesday, the middle school had a community service day and every advisory did something different to help the community. The Donnelly advisory went to TABLE. TABLE is an organization that collects food for kids who wouldn’t normally have a dinner over the weekend. At TABLE, we brought food in, weighed it, put the expiration dates on it, and sorted it in its category of food’s shelf. Then we filled bags with food that was already there. There was all sorts of food: canned foods, vegetables, beans, milk boxes, juice boxes, fruit cups, pasta, foods in packets that I had no idea what they were, etc. I think that we all did something to help our community and the people that we helped are probably very grateful.

Posted with BlogsyPosted with Blogsy

Community Service by Bella

The Glass Advisory got a chance to serve our community by going strawberry picking, then taking them to the Ronald McDonald House. The strawberry part was fun, but really gross too because there were SO MANY SPIDERS and other creepy bugs I don’t even know. When we took the strawberries to the Ronald McDonald House, the people there were very delighted and pleased. The highlight of our trip that day was when the most adorable kid at the house who started break dancing for us!

Posted with BlogsyPosted with Blogsy

Community Service Will P

Ms. Johnson’s advisory went to the Spring Arbor nursing home on Wednesday for community service. Spring Arbor nursing home is an old peoples home. I enjoyed the visit because of the satisfaction at the end of the day that I had brought some sunshine into a lonely old person’s day. Also, it was neat talking to them because now they just look like frail old people but it is amazing what they did back in the day. For example, one of the two people I was talking with played basketball at Syracuse. She then became an art teacher and she saw the integration of whites and blacks happening. The other person I talked to was funny. She was talking about painting my nose green! I had fun helping her paint a flower pot. Overall, I had a good experience at the Spring Arbor nursing home.


Community Service by Jinger

At Durham academy we got to do community service outside of school. This was our second community service we have done. My advisory went to Hope Valley Elementary School about two minutes away from here. We each broke up into groups to go into different grades. I went with two people to first grade to help out. I really enjoyed going there. At first I was a little nervous on what to do but once I got it it was really fun. We helped them with math and Language Arts. They were so cute and smart. Their personalities were just so beautiful they were super kind and approached us coming there. I enjoyed it because I got the experience of going to another school outside of Durham Academy and seeing how their school worked. When we were done I got to hear about the rest of my advisories experiences. Each of them had a different story to tell. At the end all of the little first graders gave us hugs and said goodbye. I really liked this community service and hope to do it again!