Reality Ministries has been a recipient of the Durham Farmers’ Market’s Wednesday Donation Station since the fall of 2013, and the results of the past year have been incredible. At that time, Reality Ministries was serving one lunch a week, and fresh local vegetables rarely graced the plate. That quickly changed. Since the partnership began, daytime participants from Reality Ministries regularly serve as volunteers at the Donation Station, where all of the fresh food collected is used in the community center lunches. Reality Ministries has expanded their food program to offer daily, home cooked lunches. They now cook so much that they have started purchasing local produce on top of the donations they receive as a result of their expanded efforts, and they will soon be building out a new kitchen to handle increased use.
Reality Ministries is a faith-based community organization that creates opportunities for all people with and without developmental disabilities to experience belonging and relationship. Their daily programs provide a place for participants develop life-long friendships, and create community. Food is an important aspect of this. Greg Little, the head of the kitchen staff at Reality Ministries puts it this way. “Eating together is central to who we are at the Reality Center. This is because we are ordered around a sort of mutuality in our fellowship with one another. Some of us live with developmental disabilities and some of us do not -- but we all gather around the table for nourishment and friendship. “
To celebrate and deepen this relationship, Farmer Foodshare and Reality Ministries hosted a Community Meal together inviting farmers, market managers, Farmer Foodshare and Reality Ministries staff, participants and volunteers. “This past Thursday at our Community Meal, this mutuality was deepened even more”, said Greg Little. “Our table expanded to include the growers of our food and those who make that food available to us. Our partnership with Farmer Foodshare has offered us the chance to become more aware of the generosity and work that makes each of our daily lunches possible. This partnership teaches us to be thankful, slowly making room for attentiveness to our food and relationships that reveal to us our mutuality with one another. We are so grateful for Farmer Foodshare.”
Farmer Foodshare started the Community Meals as a way to deepen existing relationships between farmers, volunteers, and Donation Station recipients. This particular meal was a memorable evening full of meaningful introductions and enriching conversation. From all of us at Farmer Foodshare, a heart felt thank you to Reality Ministries for being an incredible partner.