North Carolina church’s sandwich ministry receives two volunteer awards

By ENS Staff
Posted May 10, 2024

[Episcopal News Service] The Sandwich Brigade of St. Philip’s Church in Durham, North Carolina, was recognized with two awards from the Triangle Nonprofit and Volunteer Leadership Center – the Governor’s Volunteer Service Award for Durham County and the Key Volunteer of the Year award in the Group/Team category.

The awards honored the group’s unflagging commitment to providing nutritious food to their neighbors in need. In 2023, that included making more than 13,000 sandwiches for the Urban Ministries of Durham. Sandwich group members Anne Pilgrim, Lori Woodward and Susan Day Moore accepted the awards during a May 6 ceremony.

The brigade was nominated by Vicki Baker, Urban Ministries’ director of community engagement, who said the group often provides enough sandwiches to fill two days’ worth of bagged lunches. Urban Ministries offers three free meals per day, every day of the year, to anyone who is hungry.

More than 100 applications were submitted this year for the Governor’s Volunteer Service Award, which recognizes individuals and groups that make a significant impact to their communities through volunteering.

The Sandwich Brigade began during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, when members realized Urban Ministries wouldn’t be able to offer indoor meals. Ever since then, members make sandwiches at home and then bring them every Wednesday morning to a member’s driveway, along with bags of fruit, individually wrapped snacks and cases of water. After some conversation, members say a prayer over the food and then deliver everything to Urban Ministries.

Woodward said that while the effort began because of a COVID-era need, “it continues because we care about our downtown neighbors.” Making sandwiches “is one tiny way we can help make somebody’s day a little bit better,” she added.

St. Philip’s has a long relationship with Urban Ministries. Forty years ago, church members helped found the nonprofit, and the two organizations share a city block.