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#25DaysOfGiving: Give the Gift of Nourishment

For Trevor*, a holiday break from school isn't always a cause for excitement. The Durham Performance Learning Center (PLC) senior is one of 16.2 million youth in the U.S. who struggle with hunger.

“We have a handful of kids whose reason for coming to school is that they get breakfast and lunch. They come here to eat,” says Zellua Sistrunk-Moore, Graduation Coach at PLC, a credit-recovery high school opened in partnership with Communities In Schools of Durham. “Trevor told he me had some concerns about how he was going to eat over Thanksgiving break, and that was very upsetting to me.”

Recognizing the need to continue serving her students even when school was not in session, Zellua gathered grocery bags of nonperishable food and snacks to hand out to 50 of her students the day before Thanksgiving break. And each morning when school is in session, she operates a snack cart to incentivize students to come to school and help them perform their best. “Students can only manage so much when they're hungry,” she says.

But with a two-week winter holiday break approaching, she's concerned how some of her students will feed themselves.

“I'd like to put together another 75 bags to send home with our kids, but it's hard to find the room in our small budget for things like that,” Zellua says, adding that her long-term goal is to establish a food pantry in the school for students to use when they need extra help feeding themselves for dinner or over weekends and breaks.

Communities In Schools of Durham and its Graduation Coaches like Zellua work hard to address a variety of students' needs to help them achieve in school and in life. But we can't do this work without the help of community partners. A gift of $20 can feed a student in need while they don't have access to school breakfast or lunch.

Join us in #25DaysOfGiving and consider making a donation to ensure Durham's vulnerable youth don't go hungry over winter break. To support this specific cause, please contact Tamara Omazic, Communications Manager, at

*Name has been changed to protect the identity of the student.

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