Thursday, October 11, 2012

Friendship Trays - Garden Party Saturday 10/13/12

Friendship Gardens.

If you have not yet heard about Friendship Trays and its many affiliate programs, you are truly missing out on a vital community organization in Charlotte and a worthwhile volunteer and donation opportunity. Friendship Trays provides meals - cost is based on income and ranges from nothing to $4.50 - to people of any age who are unable to prepare a healthy meal and have no resource to help them do so. Most people pay less than $1 per meal and volunteers make up the bulk of the manpower that runs this daily operation. The program receives no government funding and counts on donations and a huge volunteer effort to keep going. 

An affiliate garden program called Friendship Gardens, which is a partnership between Slow Food Charlotte and Friendship Trays, helps people start community gardens and accepts donations back from the gardens, including local, fresh foods in the delivered meals. 

Friendship Gardens is hosting its annual fundraiser, a fun Autumn Garden Party, this Saturday October 13, 2012, including food, music, dancing and mischief in the garden. Tickets are $50 and you can buy them online or pay when you arrive. Registration is here

To donate to Friendship Trays, click here

Also on site is the Community Culinary School of Charlotte (CCSC), which trains unemployed individuals, including some former offenders, to cook and offers help with resume building and interview skills so that graduates are sure to find permanent positions in the culinary field. 

Encore Catering, which grew out of the CCSC and is also on site at the same facility as Friendship Trays, uses students and graduates to prepare food for all sorts of events including weddings. Their rates are competitive and from what I hear, the food is excellent.

Please check out these great organizations and the other Friendship Trays partners - there is so much available on the website. You can also arrange to tour the facility as I did - trust me, you will be impressed with the organization and the direct effect on the community that is obvious when you learn how many folks benefit from Friendship Trays and its affiliates.

More than 800 active clients receive meals from Friendship Trays with 550 - 650 meals being delivered every day! I love this map, which shows all of the clients served and the routes.

Meals are delivered in two parts. Above, the salad/fruit/bread tray, which does not need to be warmed.

The main dish of the day, which is delivered cold and heated up by the client.

Busy at work in the kitchen preparing the meals. Both volunteers and full time employees make this operation possible. Students at the Community Culinary School of Charlotte take 14 week classes and some work in the Friendship Trays kitchen.

Fresh peppers delivered from one of the many community gardens.

Friendship Trays partners with many community organizations including the Community Culinary School of Charlotte and Encore Catering. 

Lots happens at 2401 Distribution Street! Volunteering and/or donating is a great way to help our community. If you would like to volunteer, 125 drivers are needed every day to fulfill 94 routes and kitchen volunteers are also needed.

Contact Lani Lawrence at to volunteer.

Another view of Friendship Gardens.

1 Comment:

Organic Eater said...

Thanks for this post on such a great organization! I have just discovered FG, and I'm thrilled they have been created for Charlotte! Also, I saw OrganicEater in your blog roll, and I'm honored!! I'm following you via email. Thanks again and hope to meet you sometime!