Hillsborough business donates candle proceeds to combat local hunger

Betty Dickerson (middle), owner of A Little Something at 118 N. Churton Street in downtown Hillsborough, presents a check in the amount of $750.00 to Nancy Grebenkemper, Director of PORCH Hillsborough (right), and Elizabeth “Lizzie” Dicker (left), Coordinator for PORCH Hillsborough. A Little Something sold over 70 Riverwalk candles, with proceeds supporting PORCH’s Food for Schools initiative, which provides assistance to all 13 Orange County Schools facilities in ensuring that food-insecure children have enough to eat. Dickerson initiated the candle donation program as a tribute to a recently-deceased friend who devoted her life to children. 

For Betty Dickerson, owner of A Little Something at 118 N. Churton Street in downtown Hillsborough, the opportunity to assist a local organization, PORCH, that assists needy families with food and other assistance brought some added meaning. 

It wasn’t just an opportunity to support a noble cause that does a great deal in the local community to assist needy, food insecure residents. It was a chance for Dickerson to honor a recently-deceased friend who had devoted her life to helping others. 

“What happened is one of their (PORCH’s) volunteers came in one day and asked for a little donation. So I gave a donation, but then I thought, there is something I should do for this,” Dickerson said. “A friend of mine had just died. She spent her life dedicated to children and meeting their needs, educationally, emotionally, physically. She just dedicated her life to it. She was almost like a missionary to children. She passed away. When she passed away, I thought I needed to continue her legacy. So this was my Amy project.”

Starting in the fall, A Little Something began selling Riverwalk candles, with $10 from every purchase going directly to PORCH.   

“We started (selling the candles) in the fall, so just three or four months,” Dickerson said. “I thought if we could raise $400, $450, that would be really good. But the candles kept selling, and I had to keep re-ordering them. I think I had to place two or three re-orders. And it’s a great candle on top of it. It’s a local candle from Riverwalk, so it has local meaning.”

“We sold 73 of the candles, and we just rounded it up to 75,” Dickerson said. “I can’t believe how well it went. All I had to do was mention the cause to people, and they bought at least one candle. It touches people’s hearts.” 

On the morning of Wednesday, February 28, Dickerson welcomed Nancy Grebenkemper, Director of PORCH Hillsborough, and Elizabeth “Lizzie” Dicker, Coordinator for PORCH Hillsborough, for a check ceremony at A Little Something, where Dickerson presented the volunteers with a check for $750.00. It marked the largest single donation to PORCH from any local business in Hillsborough since the organization’s founding. 

The $750 from the sale of the Riverwalk candles will be utilized to support PORCH’s Food for Schools program that provides all 13 Orange County Schools facilities with nutritious snacks for students who do not have sufficient food. 

“We have three programs going on. One is our Food for Schools program. We also have a pantry program, where we supply food to the CIM (Orange Congregations in Mission) Food Pantry. And then we just started a new program,” Grebenkemper said. 

“It’s the Food for Families program,” Dicker added in regards to PORCH’s third local initiative. 

“When you go to Weaver Street, there’s the Roundup (campaign). For the next three months, they’re rounding up for PORCH. It’s PORCH Hillsborough and Chapel Hill. But they want the Hillsborough funds raised to stay in Hillsborough. So with that money, we started a Food of Families program, where we have fresh produce that Weaver Street provides for us. We deliver a 40-pound box to some families that were identified by school social workers.” 

PORCH-Hillsborough (hillsborough.porchcommunities.org) is an all-volunteer 501c3 organization dedicated to relieving hunger in northern Orange County. Since 2011, PORCH-Hillsborough has donated over 71 tons of food worth an estimated $240,000. 

PORCH hosts monthly neighborhood food drives, where local residents place non-perishable foot items on their porches. Neighborhood coordinators pick up the food donation and deliver it to the Orange Congregations in Mission (OCIM) food pantry in Hillsborough. From there, donations quickly get into the hands of people who really need it. One in five individuals living in Orange County is food insecure. Over 6,400 local children to not get enough to eat.

In addition, twice a year PORCH-Hillsborough delivers healthy snack foods to each of the 13 public schools in Hillsborough to stock school pantries for low-income students. If you or your business would like to sponsor a local school, email hillsborough@porchcommunities.org to get involved. Email PORCH to see if your neighborhood has a coordinator. If there is not a PORCH coordinator in your neighborhood, become one. PORCH will send simple steps for starting monthly food drives in your neighborhood.