Why I Committed to PORCH

By Steve Spokane
Commit to PORCH

Upon retiring in 2018 I wanted to find ways to leverage the skills I used in my career — leading, building, advising, being accountable and delivering results — to do meaningful and impactful work. To quote David Brooks in his wonderful 2019 book, The Second Mountain: The Quest for a Moral Life:  “a job is a way of making a living, but work is a particular way of being needed, of fulfilling the responsibility that life has placed before you.” I was looking for that kind of work.

While serving as an advisor and educator to Triangle nonprofits through the Executive Service Corps I learned about the wonderful work being done by the PORCH chapter in Chapel Hill. I spent some time on the Chapel Hill group’s board, learning about the PORCH model and their programs.  I was intrigued by the neighborhood model, and became especially excited about the organic interest in the model from communities across the country. In early 2020 I joined the board of the national PORCH Communities organization; we’re a working board whose mission is to help start new chapters and to help existing chapters succeed and grow.

So why do I find PORCH so compelling?

Hunger is a preventable and solvable problem. In 2018, 37 million Americans were food insecure, including one of every nine adults and one out of every seven kids. We live in the wealthiest country on the planet. We waste approximately 40% of our food. These numbers don’t add up and we can do better. No one in our country should experience hunger and food insecurity.  PORCH can help.

We’re neighbors helping neighbors.  Getting things done and having an impact is difficult at any level.  The PORCH model facilitates a meaningful, frictionless model where community members and neighbors can easily help others in their community that need access to healthy food. We’ve created a movement that starts one street, one neighborhood, one community at a time.

A powerful, simple idea. Our core program, the monthly food drive, is a model of simplicity. Once a month you leave food on your porch, someone picks it up and it gets sorted and delivered to a pantry.  We have other programs too (fresh food, healthy snacks for kids) but this is the program that gets chapters started. Anyone who wants to have an impact can do this.

And, finally, one of the best parts about being part of the PORCH community is the privilege of working with terrific, like-minded people, people I would love to spend an evening with on my front porch. Through PORCH, I’ve found my work and my community.