Midtown: Community

Midtown Muse: Enloe High School’s Charity Ball a huge success in Raleigh

The Enloe High School Student Council ... Just Did It!

In October, I told you about the school’s 10th Annual Charity Ball fundraiser campaign to raise $75,000 for the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle. The hunger-relief organization chose Enloe as the site for Wake County’s first community-wide food pantry at a public school.

At the Dec. 6 Charity Ball held at Marbles Kids Museum in downtown Raleigh, Enloe presented a check to Inter-Faith for $92,000. Since then, the school has handed over another $1,000 check, said Jill Bullard, Inter-Faith’s co-founder.

Yes, mission exceeded – by $18,000.

“It was the most amazing night you could ever imagine,” Bullard said. “It was so empowering and refreshing to see that dedicated group of about 1,000 students who all got it – they got what the issue is and what the solutions could be.

“It makes me feel so confident in the future of our community. I feel like the next generation of leaders is right here. What they were able to accomplish is breathtaking. It leaves you speechless.”

Inter-Faith serves seven counties in and around the Triangle with mobile markets, food pantries, community gardens, urban agriculture training and more to increase sources of and access to healthy food.

The Charity Ball is run by students who tour charities, attend weekend planning retreats, swap their lunch periods for cold-calls for sponsorships and donations, manage online ticket sales and social media accounts, and make bank deposits.

Students chose Inter-Faith as this year’s recipient after learning 34.6 percent of Enloe students get free or reduced-price lunch and could be at risk for hunger.

In Wake County, 44,220 children are food insecure, or without access to nutritious food and unsure when they’ll eat again.

“They put their heart and soul into raising both money for Inter-Faith and awareness regarding hunger in our school community,” said Trudy Price-O’Neil, an Enloe teacher and the student council’s executive council adviser. “They consistently restore my faith in humanity and give me hope for the future of our world.

“Their belief in the good of others and in each other fuels their ability to move mountains to reach seemingly impossible goals.”

Since 2011, Enloe’s Charity Ball has grown consistently, both in community support and money raised. In 2011, $22,000 went to 1in9, which supports people fighting breast cancer. In 2012, $50,000 went to InterAct, which supports those affected by domestic violence. Last year, the school raised $63,000 for SAFEchild, a child abuse prevention program.

Seeing is believing

A group that aims to increase access to healthy, affordable food and places to be active has checked in with its first 10 grant recipients in Southeast Raleigh that have added fresh vegetables and places to exercise.

Voices into Action: Families, Food, and Health is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The group wants to attack Southeast Raleigh’s food desert status by partnering with the community. The five-year project is based out of N.C. State and N.C. A&T State universities, the N.C. Cooperative Extension, and the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program.

The first mini-grants, ranging from $100 to $2,000, were awarded to Alliance Medical Ministry, Fertile Ground Food Cooperative, North Carolina Fair Share CDC, Treasuring Christ Church, Agape Word Fellowship, Poe Center, Grocers on Wheels, Neighbor to Neighbor, Farm it Forward and Passage Home.

“We are very impressed with the work of our mini-grantees so far this year, and we’re looking forward to watching the projects continue to grow in the future,” said Marissa Sheldon, a community outreach coordinator with Voices into Action.

We can also anticipate funding for what Voices into Action hopes will be nine new mini-grantees who will begin community projects.

USDA approval of the mini-grant applications is expected some time next month. Until then, it’s top secret who will get the money.

Meanwhile, since seeing is believing, you can check out what’s been accomplished by the 2014 mini-grants at http://voicesintoaction.org/category/wake/.