Community Outreach Update

Hello Durham Co-op community,

We have made our way through the seasons, and summer is approaching full, fast, and far lovelier than we could imagine. The Co-op has been following a similar trend, with full shelves, fast new team members, and far more prepared now than we thought we’d be surviving these inconsistent times. If we know anything though, our support for community will strive to always be consistent.  

Since our last update in March, we have been working with wonderful new groups in support of community in accordance to our missions and values. A part of our foundation as a cooperative business is to adhere to our values in regard to our mission as a community partner. Providing community support by making access to fresh and quality food is a big part of this, especially for those in community who have food insecurity and can’t easily access resources consistently.

Recently, we have found creative ways to support our community interests. Especially as a smaller Co-op, we can’t always provide the support needed in community, but when we can support community interest and even more specifically, community members helping community, we want to aid in the good work.

We have added a few new volunteer programs to our roster of organizations we donate to. There are many opportunities in the area to volunteer in support of community. In the past we have donated to the Food Bank through the “Middle Mile” program, worked with Food Not Bombs (pre pandemic), and more recently, we are continuing to support Root Causes.  

Our relationship with Root Causes started with our former board member, Julian Xie, who worked to organize us in donating food to patients supported by Root Causes Outpatient clinic. In the past, we have provided donations of meat and other high protein foods to support community members in studies of diet, food access, and health.

Currently, we are donating to the Fresh Produce program that is under the Root Causes initiatives, which is staffed by volunteers and housed at Farmer Foodshare. Organizers sort fresh grocery donations into individual bags for giving to neighbors in need, due to food insecurity. To support the volunteers, the Co-op will be donating coffee and snacks to help keep motivation and energy high to serve them as they serve community.

We are hoping to provide creative donations like this to various volunteer efforts in community, so please reach out to if you know of an organization or work day that could use some support. As a Co-op, our missions and values drive our work in community and are the foundation of our business model. As a cooperative grocer, you can always view our missions and values on the website or in the café, but we also want to make sure to live them out in community.

Coming up, are happy to support some amazing initiatives in community in honor of Juneteenth. Juneteenth, for those who may not know, is a time in our nation’s history, like much of our shared story, that isn’t often discussed due to the difficult nature of the topics of slavery and racism that are a part of our American culture. Though the holiday has been celebrated since 1865, where it has been observed in Galveston, Texas, in 2021 President Biden recognized it as a national holiday for Americans. Now, thanks to the efforts of black academics, community leaders, and artists, Juneteenth has become a day for remembrance, solidarity, and gathering.

For the formerly enslaved African Americans of Galveston, Texas who were detained for three years, and for many more throughout the nation, after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation of 1862, more or less, freed African Americans in the United States. Now, and even then, Jubilees, named after celebrations from the Christian Bible, were held throughout the nation to honor the new found lives, opportunities, hopes, and wishes for black Americans.

Though slavery has ended, we know that America is built on a framework of racism, and many struggles of African Americans in this country have not ended, but only transformed and persisted. In alignment with our commitment to support community, we are donating to two important organizations working to preserve black history, and social interest in the Triangle.

The first group we are happy to be supporting is The Friends of Oberlin Village in Raleigh. They will be hosting a 5k to raise funds for the growing young organization. This group was founded in recent years to support the restoration, community education, and preservation of the Oberlin Village Community, a historically black community in Raleigh built by freed African Americans.

As well, we will be present in our own neighborhood in support of the Pauli Murray Center. The Center will be having a block party to honor the historical black gender non-binary pastor, poet, author, and activist. Many may not be aware, but the Co-op sits on land owned by the Murray family. Please stop by the Co-op or the Murray family home and their celebration this month to learn more.

We are always happy to celebrate the work of community members, historical and present. Recently we have partnered with the LGBTQ Center of Durham to support the Rainbow Collective for Change who brings “Rainbow Story Time” to the Co-op once a month, every second Saturday of the month.

For those with young ones, please think about attending the Pride edition of this Rainbow Story Collective for Change “Rainbow Story Time” this upcoming Saturday, June 11th at 11am outside the Co-op in the lovely rain garden. This amazing group has been prolific in advocating for the rights of trans children, queer families, and students who are in need of support in our Durham Public Schools. Please look into supporting them or joining a story time and follow this link to find a story time or advocate time at your place.

Lastly, we are happy to have been a part of an amazing event last month led by a phenomenal organization. The SOUP is a micro-granting dinner focused on supporting creative projects and promoting community-based development. The Co-op donated food to an incubator dinner at the SOUP dinner, with ticket proceeds being fully committed to one of the participating small businesses.

Last month’s dinner saw local entrepreneur, Mariah Thorpe of Jam Kids Co., awarded a $1,750 micro-grant! Jam Kids is a mobile soft-play business that brings safe, foam-based play sets to birthday parties for 0 – 4-year-olds and children with special needs. Congratulations, Ms. Thorpe!

We are happy to have also been in community by providing donations to many local initiatives. We provided support to the Duke Nurses raffle, E.K. Powe Schools student support raffle, and the Reality Ministries talent show. The Co-op wants to support community doing the work to make community inclusive, lively, and thriving.

In fact, one of Durham’s most thriving events is the Beaver Queen Pageant, produced by the Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association. The ECW is having it’s annual gathering to raise funds for the Ellerbe Creek wetland. We wish all the contestants good luck and hope you enjoy the snacks.

For those who may not know, the Beaver Queen Pageant was started to protect a group of beavers and their habitat in Durham. Using the art of drag, and well-meaning bribes, contestants are voted on after a series of performances, all culminating in a showcase this June 4th in Duke Park. Please support the pageant and community by following them on social media or going to the website.

And what better way to end this conversation than by reminding all of our LGBTQ community members, owners, and workers HAPPY PRIDE. We are proud of you, we have pride in our community, and as the sign says, Everyone Welcome!