At Ford Fund, we are excited to highlight some of our incredible Black-owned and Black-led partner organizations. Since 2006, Ford Fund has partnered with Dare to Care Food Bank, which is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization addressing hunger and food insecurity in Louisville where Ford has a long history and presence. In the coming weeks, stay tuned for more feature interviews with founders and leaders from some of our other deeply impactful partner organizations.
A Conversation with Vincent E. James, Sr., Dare to Care Food Bank
Q. What’s the 'why' behind Dare to Care Food Bank?
A: Dare to Care is the leading anti-hunger organization in Kentuckiana, a portmanteau of Kentucky and Indiana, providing food bank services to 13 counties across the region. More than 120,000 people in our community face food insecurity. They live in every zip code of our service area. Over the past year, in partnership with hundreds of nonprofit organizations and faith communities, we have provided enough food for nearly 20 million meals to our neighbors facing food insecurity.
Q. What inspires you most about Dare to Care?
A: Honestly, our dedicated team and its unwavering commitment to serving our community and addressing the issue of food insecurity head-on. When I joined Dare to Care in late 2021, we began looking at our work through an equity lens. Food insecurity doesn't discriminate, and neither do we. Our work extends to every zip code in our service area. Every day, we witness the impact of our efforts in the Kentuckiana area. Knowing that we have supplied nearly 20 million meals to our neighbors in need over the past year is a testament to the dedication and compassion of everyone involved in our organization, from our incredibly dedicated team to our philanthropic supporters. Together, we are making a significant difference in the lives of our fellow citizens, and that is truly something to be proud of.
Q. How do Kentuckianans seeking your services engage with Dare to Care?
A: When an individual or family in our community faces food insecurity, the first step is to connect with one of our partner nonprofit organizations or faith communities. These local organizations act as access points to all of our programming and resources. Once connected, the participant may also be directed to one of our targeted programs, depending on their specific circumstances. We operate our own programs including Kids Cafe, the Mobile Pantry, Prescriptive Pantries, School Pantries, and the Zero Hunger Mobile market to address specific needs.
Regardless of entry point, we aim to provide a holistic and comprehensive approach to addressing food insecurity while prioritizing dignity, respect, and compassion. Our team and partners work to create a welcoming environment where participants can access the food they need without judgment or stigma. This is a particular area of emphasis for us.
Q. How did you become involved with Dare to Care?
A: It was a natural progression of my lifelong dedication to serving others and empowering our community. As the Pastor of Elim Baptist Church for over two decades, I have been intimately connected with the struggles and challenges faced by individuals and families living in the heart of Louisville's inner city. During my five years as Chief of Community Building for the city, I witnessed firsthand the impact of the pandemic and the social justice movement of 2020 on vulnerable communities, including the growing issue of food insecurity.
Ultimately, the alignment of my background in community building, my understanding of the challenges faced by underserved populations, and my commitment to alleviating hunger led me to take on the role. Now, in my capacity as the President and CEO of Dare to Care Food Bank, I have the privilege of leading the charge in tackling food insecurity, fostering partnerships, and pioneering initiatives that bring hope and sustenance to the lives of those we serve.
Q. Are there ways people can support Dare to Care and the work that you do?
A: Absolutely! Our mission is "to lead the community to feed the hungry and conquer the cycle of need." There are several meaningful ways individuals and organizations can contribute and make a difference:
- Financial contributions of any amount are incredibly valuable as they allow us to purchase food in bulk and secure nutritious options for those in need.
- We welcome volunteers to help with various tasks, such as sorting and packing food, assisting at distribution events, or supporting educational workshops and events.
- Engage with us on social media and help raise awareness about hunger-related issues, advocate for policies that address food insecurity, and spread the word about our work.
- Consider including Dare to Care Food Bank in your estate plans to support future generations.
Regardless of the form of support, every contribution matters and makes a real difference in the lives of individuals and families facing food insecurity in the greater Kentucky area.