Madison Park Founder Gives Back

By Michelle Magnasco

Local PORCH founder: “I believe it’s important to give back.”

Local PORCH volunteers run sustainable food programs in more than 550 neighborhoods in towns and cities of all sizes. Michelle Magnasco, the founder of PORCH Charlotte – Madison Park in Charlotte, NC, recently sat down to share with us why and how she became a volunteer PORCH leader. 

“I have worked in the restaurant industry. I’m a home cook. I’m a baker,” Michelle says. “Food is incredibly important on a personal level. Everyone should have enough food to eat. Full stop. End of story. To me, PORCH is a simple and efficient way to get resources from people who want to help to people who need those resources.”

Easy Start-Up

Michelle was previously a neighborhood coordinator when she lived in another part of Charlotte. With the pandemic underway and the need for hunger relief growing, Michelle reached out to PORCH Communities to express interest in launching the monthly collections  in her new neighborhood. Michelle describes the start-up kit she received as “a godsend,” adding that she “didn’t have to create emails and other materials from scratch. “The templates that exist are good and make it really easy,” said Michelle. “The wheel is not being re-invented. This is being done in multiple states successfully.” 

Overwhelmingly positive response

Madison Park is a sizable neighborhood consisting of about 1,500 houses. Built in the 1950s, it is home to a large demographic spread: original long-time homeowners, first-time homeowners in their 20s, and all those in between. 

Michelle posted to the neighborhood Facebook group, consisting of 300 members, that she intended to start a local PORCH and asked neighbors if they wanted to participate. She also distributed postcards by going door to door. The response was overwhelmingly positive, and she was able to begin building an email list of interested participants.

During her first collection in February 2021, non-perishables were left on 23 porches. All of the items were driven to the pantry by Michelle and her husband, Matt. In 2023, more than 50 homes typically participate each month. Some also make financial donations online. In May, Michelle and her neighbors collected 83 bags from 35 porches, which meant they helped feed 143 families. 

Consistent and flexible monthly collections

Michelle sends out three PORCH emails per month – one the week before collection, reminding people that the date is coming up; one the day before collection; and one the day after to thank those who gave and share the results. When Michelle emails neighbors to communicate about leaving out goods like pasta sauce and cereal, she also seeks volunteers to help her drive the groceries to the Wedgewood Community Church food pantry, which is run by the Hearts United for Good Foundation.

Just as a neighbor can skip a month from time to time, Michelle has done the same. During a particularly busy month that included an overseas trip, she wrote a check to the Wedgewood Community Church food pantry, in lieu of going door to door to collect non-perishables. 

But most months, the timing works – not just for Michelle, but also her neighbors. “I’ve shown up and packed lunches [for nonprofits] every week,” she says. “This broadens the impact I can have by getting other people involved. I believe it’s important to give back. To do good in the world.” 

Get started today 

Every month new volunteers step up to ask how they can bring PORCH to their neighborhoods. The national PORCH Communities team makes it easy by providing personalized onboarding and ongoing support, including forums where you can connect and learn from fellow volunteers like Michelle. Learn how to bring PORCH to your neighborhood, and email us at to set up a call and see if this opportunity is right for you. It is always a good time to be a part of the solution.