“Just leap. Take the first step to make a difference, and the next step isn't as hard.”

“In 2016, I was getting ready to retire. Not just from my role as Executive Director of the Inter Faith Food Shuttle, but to ‘retire retire.’ This organization, which I co-founded, relieves hunger by establishing sources of healthy food in low-income neighborhoods and creating opportunities for people to learn job skills and grow their own food. After 27 years of day-to-day management, fundraising, and political advocacy, it was time. No more working!”

“Around then, I was invited to Haiti to see the massive erosion and deforestation of the mountains. I witnessed the organization Haiti Reforestation Partnership helping residents to turn things around. The Partnership provides support for CODEP ('COmprehensive DEvelopment Program'), a community of rural neighborhoods working to reforest the mountains around their homes. Thanks to this work, whole swaths of once barren mountains are now covered with trees – 14 million so far. Forests make ALL the difference. Rain is absorbed, the soil is richer, and when water emerges in streams, it is clear. Fishponds thrive, gardens can grow, and fruit trees provide protection from the harshest sunlight. People have more to eat, have produce to sell, and can send their children to school rather than lose them to the urban slums of Port au Prince.”

“On August 1, 2016, I officially resigned from Inter-Faith Food Shuttle. Two weeks later, I found myself saying yes to becoming Executive Director of Haiti Reforestation Project. I guess retirement didn’t last long!”

“I find myself reacting to something that’s clearly wrong. It’s a powerful catalyst.”

“It's always been like this for me. I find myself reacting to something that's clearly wrong. It's a powerful catalyst. The spark that led to Inter-Faith Food Shuttle was seeing food being thrown out at a fast food restaurant, watching the staff toss all the unsold breakfast sandwiches because it was time to prep for lunch — while people, children, in Durham were going hungry. I HAD to do something. I’m not so sure I'm a fearless person. Doing something new always has fear associated with it. You act in spite of the fear. Take the first step and the next step isn’t so hard. I got that ‘reactive’ feeling again visiting Haiti. I could see I can make a difference, so here I go.”

“People ask, how do you keep going at this work? What sustains me is people. With the Food Shuttle it was the people we help, and the people who deliver the food. They light my heart. I see this same light in people in Haiti. When they point to the reforestation that we are creating together, they light up! This is what inspires me. I guess retirement can wait.”

BCBSNC is an avid supporter of the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle and its Geer Street Learning Garden. This is home to the Blue Cross NC Community Garden, where local residents and community volunteers grow organic vegetables. The harvest is distributed by the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle to people in Durham who lack access to fresh, healthy and affordable food.

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