Community Partner Spotlights

"Alone we can do so little. Together we can do so much.”

 

– Helen Keller

Feed More

Feed More

Meet Sarah Dovel, Regional Manager for Feed More! Sarah has been part of our Mobile Produce Pantry Journey since the beginning, and even made a cameo appearance in the video on our homepage! Sarah guided us through the process of becoming a Feed More Agency, which allows us to acquire the fresh fruits and vegetables that get distributed within our communities! Sarah's passion and Feed More's continued support are the keys that unlock the possibilities of the Mobile Produce Pantry. Q: Who are you and where are you from? My name is Sarah Dovel, and I am from Richmond, VA (born and raised). I have been employed at Feed More for almost exactly 10 years! I began in our Volunteer Department, recruiting and managing volunteers for our Community Kitchen programs, and moved on working directly with our agency partners – area food pantries, soup kitchens, and other community nonprofits - as a ‘Regional Manager’, in 2015. Q: What's your mission and the community you serve? Feed More collects, prepares, and distributes food to neighbors in need. With a service area that stretches across 29 counties and five cities throughout Central Virginia, our comprehensive programs and Agency Network are dedicated to providing neighbors who face hunger with one of the most basic necessities: nourishment. Community means...Neighbors helping neighbors to grow a healthier and thriving place to live and work. Q: What does community mean to you? Neighbors helping neighbors to grow a healthier and thriving place to live and work. Q: What changes would you like to see in Richmond? I’d love to see expanded access to healthy, fresh foods in low-access areas, along with an increase in transportation assistance. World U.P. Foundation is such a great example of that goal, with the mobile produce model – taking healthly, fresh food to neighbors in need! The number of community gardens has really taken off in the last few years, which is wonderful to see! Q: What do you love about Richmond? My favorite thing about Richmond is the beautiful surroundings and outdoor activities we have right at our back door. The restaurant scene is outstanding as well. I think everyone that works at a food bank loves food! Q: How does your organization promote Understanding and Peace? We treat clients with dignity and respect. That is a top priority for Feed More as well as for our Agency Network. We know that it is not easy to go to a food pantry, and we want the experience to be as pleasant and helpful as possible. When the pandemic began, we had a huge influx of folks visiting pantries, who had never needed help before. We understand that when a family or person is in crisis, feeling supported and understood is essential. We understand that when a family or person is in crisis, feeling supported and understood is essential. Q: What values did you see in World UP that made you want to partner with us? Nutritious foods remain at the core of our approach to closing the hunger gap in Central Virginia, and World U.P. exemplifies the goal of providing a consistent source of fresh, healthy produce, to low-access areas. World U.P. has a unique and innovative model with high growth potential to address food insecurity in areas often lacking healthy, fresh food access. Q: How can people support your mission? Donating food and funds, as well as volunteering! We are so grateful for any kind of support from the community. We are also on the lookout for new partners to collaborate with us so that we can increase food distributions in low-access areas. Q: How can people find more about you/contact you? Website: https://FeedMore.org Facebook: /feedmore Instagram: @feedmoreinc Twitter: @feedmoreinc Email: General questions: info@feedmore.org
Interested in becoming a Partner Agency? https://feedmore.org/agency-network/ Volunteer questions: volunteer@feedmore.org For Food Assistance: Visit our online Agency Locator: https://feedmore.org/agency-network/agency-locator/ Call our Hunger Hotline: 804-521-2500, M-F, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.

St. Mark COGIC

St. Mark COGIC

This month, we are proud to introduce you to Pastor Barry Winston with St. Mark COGIC in Richmond, VA! Pastor Winston and St. Mark COGIC invited us to their serve their congregation in November of 2020 to help provide holiday food relief during COVID. The partnership was so positive that we quickly set up bi-monthly distributions in their parking lot. We have found them to be warm and welcoming, and think you will too! Q: Who are you and where are you from? Superintendent Barry L. Winston is the husband of Dollnita M. Winston. They have been married for 29 years and are blessed with three children; Nathaniel, Nicholas, and Nicole. Superintendent Designee Winston is a graduate of John Marshall High School. He obtained an Associate Degree in Religious Studies from The Community Bible Institute, Richmond, Virginia. With over 22 years of Pastoral Ministry, Pastor Winston is the Founder of Family Restoration Church of God in Christ and the current Senior Pastor of St. Mark Church of God in Christ. He has recently been appointed Superintendent of the Roanoke District. Pastor Winston is a courageous visionary and a faithful servant leader who loves God's people. Growing up in foster care, Pastor Winston has used this life experience as a stepping stone to grow a successful ministry. Pastor Winston is the Executive Director of Family Restoration Community Development Corporation, Director of Church & Community Relations COGIC Urban Initiative, Director of Church & Community Relations Crime Prevention/Re-entry COGIC Urban Initiatives, and a Certified Family Trainer for the Richmond Health Department, Family & Fatherhood Initiative. Pastor Winston has also conducted family mediation for Richmond Juvenile & Domestic Relations Court. Pastor Winston's past positions include Vice-Chairman of the Jurisdictional Pastors and Elders Council, Assistant Superintendent of the Commonwealth District, Family Manager for Richmond Department of Juvenile Justice, and Co-Facilitator of The Family Life Enhancement Program. Pastor Winston has received Commendations from The Senate and House of Delegates, The Commonwealth of Virginia, and The President’s Volunteer Service Award for his dedicated and outstanding contributions to his community. He was also awarded the City of Richmond, A. Lincoln James Fatherhood & Family Service Provider of the year. Superintendent Barry L. Winston has heard and accepted God's call to establish a family-oriented Ministry that is committed to reaching the lost, restoring families, and reaching the community for Jesus Christ. And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in. (Isaiah 58:12 KJV) Q: What's your mission and the community you serve? The Mission of ST. Mark Church of God in Christ is to Love God, The Church, the city and the Nations. Growing up in foster care, Pastor Winston has used this life experience as a stepping stone to grow a successful ministry. Q: What does community mean to you? A group of people living or serving in a locality, neighborhood interacting with one another for the best outcome of the locality, neighborhood. Q: What changes you would like to see in Richmond? More support from Richmond city for non-profits that serve communities Faith-based non-profits collaborating more More affordable housing Q: What do you love about Richmond? Its location The people Opportunities Q: How does your organization promote Understanding and Peace? By listening and being helpful to others when we can. By teaching conflict resolution skills Community means, "A group of people living or serving in a locality, neighborhood interacting with one another for the best outcome of the locality, neighborhood." Q: What values did you see in World UP that made you want to partner with us? Passion, Commitment, Positivity, Caringness, & Dependability Q: How can people support your mission? Our mission can be supported by giving time, resources, prayers, and talent. Q: How can people find more about you/contact you? Website: stmarkcogic.net Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/StMarkChurchOfGodInChrist/ Instagram: st.markcogic

Northside Outreach Center (NOC)

Northside Outreach Center (NOC)

This month, we are proud to introduce you to the Northside Outreach Center (NOC)! In 2017, Butch Johnson reached out to us with a problem - they had no space to store and distribute produce at their monthly food pantry. While none of us knew how to solve this problem, we decided the first step was to set up a table with coffee and fruit to better learn about Highland Park, the NOC, and how we could help. A little over 2 years later, after a lot of conversation and planning, the Mobile Produce Pantry was born and the NOC became our pilot location! Every month, we get to visit Butch, the NOC volunteers, and our friends in the Highland Park community and leave a little more peaceful and happy. We cannot thank NOC and the community enough for welcoming us that first May morning in 2017 - and being an advocate for the Mobile Produce Pantry and the World U.P. community! Q: Who are you and where are you from? Northside Outreach Center (NOC) was birthed in 2004. Founder and Executive Director, Butch Johnson, lived in Highland Park until he joined the Army in 1969. In 2003, Butch joined the Richmond Police Department’s Faith Leaders Initiative to bring together local churches to help reduce crime and increase the quality of life for the Highland Park community. When the FLI ended, Butch resolved to improve the lives of children and families in Highland Park spurred the creation of the NOC. Q: What's your mission and the community you serve? The NOC takes a holistic approach by meeting both the spiritual and practical needs of the Highland Park community. Being a stable presence in the community positions us to serve the residents with consistency and fosters strong partnerships with local leaders and organizations, like World U.P. Foundation, to make a lasting difference. Community means having strong relationships and connections with neighbors by standing as a loving example of a good neighbor. Q: What does community mean to you? At the NOC, community means having strong relationships and connections with neighbors by standing as a loving example of a good neighbor. We understand the value of the next generation. We strive to support parents, guardians, and caregivers in our neighborhood believing their transformed lives will directly impact their children. Q: What's the change you would like to see in Richmond? As an organization, we would like to see true unity based on the concept of “love your neighbor” verse identity politics and racial preferences. Q: What do you love about Richmond? As a lifelong resident of the Richmond area, Butch loves the history of the city. His experience of growing up in the community the NOC seeks to serve. Most of all the people who choose to live in our city. Q: How does your organization promote Understanding and Peace? The NOC is a non-denominational Christian organization compelled by the love of God and the compassion of Christ. We believe that true and lasting peace can only come through a personal relationship with Jesus. We would like to see true unity based on the concept of “love your neighbor” verse identity politics and racial preferences. Q: What values did you see in World UP that made you want to partner with us? In a community that is considered a food desert, we offer a monthly food pantry to help give people who are on food assistance get a mid-month boost. World U.P. Mobile Produce Pantry has been a blessing to the community. The NOC did not have the capacity to store fresh fruit and veggies. Having World U.P. coming up with a mobile produce solution has allowed access to produce that the community needed. Q: How can people support your mission? Shop at our thrift store at 3080 Meadowbridge Rd, Richmond, VA 23222, where our 100% volunteer staff can help you find a new home for the donations of household items and furniture we receive. You can visit our website for details if you want to make a donation, items or monetary, or you want to get information on volunteering. Q: How can people find more about you/contact you? Website: the-noc.org Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/The-Northside-Outreach-Ctr-158009227565993 Instagram: Instagram.com/nocthrift Email: thenoc.rva@gmail.com

Sylvia's Sisters

Sylvia's Sisters

For our first Community Partner Spotlight, we are excited to introduce you to Sylvia's Sisters! We met Jennifer Taylor a little over a year ago, pre-COVID when we were both presenting to Brandermill Woman's Club, one of our donors. With our shared goal to increase access to needed products, we quickly forged a partnership, and in May 2020, Sylvia's Sisters began providing us with female hygiene products to distribute at our Mobile Produce Pantry locations! Jennifer's passion for education and improving access to menstrual hygiene products was apparent the first day we met, and it jumps off the page in this interview. Her drive is an inspiring reminder that we are nothing without our partners and it's only when we work together, will our community effectively be of service. Q: Who are you and where are you from? A: Hi! I am Jennifer Bishop Taylor, president and founder of Sylvia’s Sisters. Sylvia’s Sisters is an all-volunteer non-profit organization that provides period products to menstruators in need. I am only one of several Sylvia’s Sisters volunteers who have been involved in supporting this 7-year-old organization. I grew up in a small town in West Tennessee. I graduated from The University of Tennessee at Martin in 1979 with a B.S. in Home Economics - Early Childhood Education. After graduation, I married and moved to St. Louis, Mo. My husband and I lived in St. Louis for 15 years. In 1994 my husband was transferred by his company to a new research facility in downtown Richmond. With our 6-year-old son in tow, we moved from St. Louis to Richmond, VA. We have lived in Chesterfield, VA ever since. Sylvia’s Sisters’ mission is to provide free period products and feminine hygiene education to menstruators who have no access to basic hygiene needs due to poverty and/or the lack of availability. Q: What's your mission and the community you serve? A: Sylvia’s Sisters’ mission is to provide free period products and feminine hygiene education to menstruators who have no access to basic hygiene needs due to poverty and/or the lack of availability. With our donors and volunteers, we serve two different communities with products. Internationally, we provide several villages in rural Uganda with washable/reusable period kits. We buy these kits, in-country, through a Ugandan company called AFRIpads and donate them to schoolgirls in need. Locally, we serve Central Virginia menstruators in need and distribute through partner agencies (e.g., food banks, Communities-in-Schools, World-UP, etc.) who provide food and basic needs to our most vulnerable citizens. "Community starts as a small close number of people who have something in common either geographically, by ethnicity, by shared ideology, or other commonalities. They are the subsets of the set or the bigger population, the world." Q: What does community mean to you? A: I have always thought of community mathematically. This is odd since I stink at math! Community starts as a small close number of people who have something in common either geographically, by ethnicity, by shared ideology, or other commonalities. They are the subsets of the set or the bigger population, the world. Each of these communities has something of value and when brought together to help each other it equals a massive amount of manpower. It is good to work inside and outside of your community because together we are strong. Just like the strings that make up a rope. Q: What's the change you would like to see in Richmond? A: I think that we are already seeing some small positive change in the areas of diversity and inclusivity since I first arrived in Richmond. At the same time, we have recently seen an uptick in certain communities where ignorance and racism have raised its head lashing out at the little progress that has been made. I would love to see a steady increase of these positive changes, more willingness for people to cross lines that divide people culturally and economically, and more acceptance of all persons. Q: What do you love about Richmond? A: I love the size of Richmond. It is perfect and works well for non-profits. Through my work with Sylvia’s Sisters, I have been able to work with both small and large community-based partner agencies, forming a bond to promote each other’s work in RVA. The willingness to come together to serve the underserved is amazing. People in Richmond have very giving hearts. Because of its size, communities are close to each other geographically and see what is happening in each area. Once you explain someone’s need and how they can help, Richmond comes together to make it happen. Q: How does your organization promote Understanding and Peace? A: Each time a partner agency receives a donation of period products from Sylvia’s Sisters, they are required to sign an MOU agreeing to give products to persons in need, free of charge, regardless of race, religion, or sexual preference. Our partner agencies, donors, volunteers, and recipients of period products are a diverse population. Q: What values did you see in World U.P. that made you want to partner with us? A: We know that many people in need also have a hard time providing adequate food for their families. Fresh produce is necessary for a healthy diet. World UP not only provides this to families, but they also take it to them, and they let families choose what they like and need. Offering choices speaks loudly to World UP’s respect for people and the pride all individuals seek to have in themselves. Period poverty …. the lack of hygiene products for menstruators because of their economic situation…. exists in part because people do not talk about menstruation in public. Q: How can people support your mission? A: Period poverty …. the lack of hygiene products for menstruators because of their economic situation…. exists in part because people do not talk about menstruation in public. It is important to learn and talk about the issue of food and basic needs insecurities that exist today. Sylvia’s Sisters is always looking for volunteers who would like to conduct period product drives through their church, community group, or school. Sylvia’s Sisters also gladly accepts monetary donations, which we use to purchase products for distribution at the most economical bulk prices we can find. Sylvia’s Sisters is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. All donations are tax-deductible. Please visit our website for how you can donate through PayPal, Credit Card, or Check. Q: How can people find more about you/contact you? A: Through any of the places below! Email: Jennifertaylor@SylviasSisters.org Website: www.sylviassisters.org Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SylviasSisters/ Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sylvias_sisters/ Regular Mail: Sylvia's Sisters P.O. Box 4904 Midlothian, VA 23112 World U.P. was granted permission by our partner organization to share the photos and interview answers publicly across our website and social media profiles. These interviews answers presented are the words of the partner organization, and have been minimally edited by World U.P. Foundation. World U.P. Foundation is not responsible for the answers or the images.