HISTORY AND MISSION
H.O.P.E. of Winston-Salem envisions a world where all children and families have access to nutritious food for their families and improved health outcomes over the course of their lives.
H.O.P.E. of Winston-Salem works at the intersection of children’s health and food insecurity. We execute weekend distributions of nutritious meals for children and fresh fruits and vegetables for families struggling with food insecurity. We also address health and food insecurity issues through our Food and Health Education initiatives and engage with the food ecosystem in and around Forsyth County.
In 2013 a local couple, Judge Ben Tennille and Dr. Marguerite (Marty) Tennille, became acutely aware of the issue of food insecurity within households with children here in Forsyth County. Dr. Tennille, a Pediatrician, saw first-hand many children coming to her practice on Mondays claiming to be sick, only to find out that they simply had not had anything nutritious to eat over the weekend. This first-hand experience, coupled with a newly released hunger study called Map the Meal Gap and a sermon at Centenary United Methodist Church, provided all the inspiration needed to address this problem head-on.
In 2014, H.O.P.E. of Winston-Salem (Help Our People Eat) was born. Through many partnerships with the faith, education and healthcare communities, and specific seed funding from Centenary UMC, the organization began distributing nutritious meals to children on Sundays in a big green truck. With a growing population of volunteers from a wide variety of sources, including former WFU football player Brandon Chubb, H.O.P.E. of Winston-Salem established a distribution route that served 5 locations located in low-income apartment complexes in East Winston.
The accessibility of a nutritious meal for a child on a weekend when school is not in session and breakfast/lunch programs are not available proved vital for a few hundred children. As research into additional distribution points began to be conducted, feedback was received by many parents and other adults at the sites HOPE of WS was initially visiting. The feedback focused on the need for fresh fruits and vegetables, as access to fresh food is tough for many individuals living in designated “food deserts.” HOPE of WS made the decision to include fresh produce in our Sunday meal distributions.
In 2016/2017, new distribution sites were identified, and additional faith community partnerships were established, including our friends at HOPE Community Church. This created a secondary afternoon route that distributed meals & fresh produce in the southeast section of Winston-Salem. It also led to the creation of a Saturday route that focused on high-need areas on the north side of Winston-Salem. A Sunday morning route was also established in partnership with 6 churches located in neighborhoods with extremely high poverty levels. Our humble beginnings working out of the Children’s Home were then upgraded to a closed down restaurant called The Meltdown, graciously provided by Wake Forest University. Designs for an operations facility, and a capital campaign to build the facility, advanced forward and a permanent location for HOPE of WS was found.
This location was identified in collaboration with the City of Winston-Salem and their Hydroponics Facility project. HOPE of WS was able to sublease the land for our facility from Goler Development Corporation. The funding for our facility was provided by Corporate & Family Foundations and local individuals that supported our vision.
In late 2017, the founders also began the search for the organization’s first Executive Director. Scott Best, our current E.D., started his journey with the organization in November 2017.
In 2019, ground was broken for our Operations Facility located in Kimberley Park in the Boston-Thurmond neighborhood of Winston-Salem. After its completion in September 2019, a new route focused on the children and families in the Boston-Thurmond neighborhood was established on Saturdays. HOPE of WS was now distributing over 1,000 meals and over 2,000 pounds of fresh produce on multiple routes on both Saturdays and Sundays. This new facility also provided the capacity to develop and execute programming designed to empower individuals and families to lead healthier lives. It also provided the storage space for our weekend operations to grow.
Our facility proved vital in 2020, during the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic. We were able to double our distribution of meals by connecting with our distribution sites during the weekdays when school was not in session. We were able to provide over 22,000 additional meals between March 2020 – August 2020 through these weekday operations.
We truly appreciate the support of the following individuals and institutions for their support in the construction of our Operations Facility
Richard J. Reynolds III and Marie M. Reynolds Foundation
Reynolds American Foundation
Tom Davis Fund
James G. Hanes Memorial Fund
John Wesley and Anna Hodgin Hanes Foundation
Ronald McDonald House Charities of NC
The Cannon Foundation
The Madlon and Kirk Glenn Family Fund
John Burress III
Ben & Sally Sutton, Jr.
Judge Ben and Dr. Marty Tennille
Our story does not stop there. Connect with us, stop over for a tour or follow us on social media to stay updated on the impact we are making on the children of Winston-Salem.