Out of the Garden Project helps reduce food insecurity in Greensboro

Out of the Garden Project helps reduce food insecurity in Greensboro

Sydney Ross, theCulture Editor

The kitchen table is significant in many households as a place where families come together to unplug from the world and plug into each other. For the Milholin family, the kitchen table is that and much more. 

14 years ago, Don and Kristy Milholin set out on a mission to help give back to families at their daughters’ school by providing fresh and nutritious foods to the children in need. 

While their children attended Morehead Elementary School during the 2008 and 2009 school year, the couple recognized several of their children’s classmates lacked access to grocery stores and food options when they went home for weekends and breaks. Coming to this realization, the couple knew they had to do something to help these families in need.

“We started around our dining room table,” Kristy said. “It really just grew from there.”

Around their kitchen table is where Out of the Garden Project was formed. With the help of some friends and family, they would gather each week around their dining room table to pack a few bags of food for families at the school. 

Photo Courtesy of Out of the Garden Project Facebook

They continued this process from their home each week for the first three years distributing 300 to 350 bags of food to families in need each week.

Today, the organization has relocated from the Milholin home to its warehouse in Greensboro where they distribute about 1,200 bags a week through their Operation Backpack program, one of their several programs that aim to give back to the community. 

“When we first moved to this warehouse about 11 years ago, we built the tables to resemble our dining room table,” Milholin said. “We wanted people to gather around the table [and] work together packing food for others.”

In addition to the Operation Backpacks program, the Fresh Mobile Market, Urban Teaching Farm and the Food Reclamation Initiative are also programs offered to Out of the Garden Project. However, it is the help and contribution of the many volunteers that help this organization function.

Photo Courtesy of Out of the Garden Facebook

“Our hearts, hands and feet are our volunteers,” Kristy said. “We couldn’t do the volume that we do without our volunteers.”

The organization has created several opportunities for volunteers to actively engage and give back to the community. Each of the programs has individual volunteers that vary in activities. 

The Milholin’s hope that anyone coming through their warehouse leaves feeling inspired and desires to continue giving back to the community. With the contribution of volunteers and generous donations, they hope to continue to work towards putting an end to food insecurity throughout the Triad and beyond. 

“A minister friend once told me hungry people will always be among us,” Milholin said. “Our goal is to work towards a society where food is never an issue.”

Visit the Out of the Garden Project website for more information on the organization and follow them on Instagram , Twitter and Facebook to stay up to date on programs and volunteer opportunities.