Half United’s name will change, but it’s mission will remain the same
WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Changes are coming for Half United, the Wilmington-based organization that has helped provide more than two million meals to needy people around the world since its inception 13 years ago. Founded by siblings Carmin and Christian Black, Half United is about to branch out and become a leader in the effort to provide fresh, locally grown food to families in Wilmington.
The brother-sister effort started in 2009, by donating half of the profits made off the clothing and jewelry they created to fight hunger in the United States. They partnered with international agencies to send meals to families in Cambodia, Fiji and Nepal. In 2015, after a visit to Haiti, the driving forces behind Half United began partnering with artisans overseas, hiring needy adults to produce products for their brand. Gainful employment became, as the organization’s website says, “an impactful way to stop the cycle of poverty and hunger.”
“If there are still hungry people in the United States, if they’re still hungry people in the world, we’re not done,” said Carmin Black. “So hey, we’ve got a long way to go.”
The next step in the organization’s growth is set to unfold in Spring 2023. Half United’s brand (and merchandise) will become Carmin Black, and Half United will merge with an existing non-profit to help run garden-to-table community food programs in Wilmington.
“We’re going to have ten community gardens and an urban farm, and the City of Wilmington is building a community kitchen at the MLK center, and we will be operating that,” Black said. “We plan to do things like a farm-to-school program at Williston Middle School, and all sorts of other culinary-related activities. The foods that we are growing are meant to bring the community together and really put food on people’s dinner tables at night, during school hours. It’s making a big impact in what are some of the worst food deserts in the state right here in Wilmington.”
Half United just opened a retail store in Wilmington’s Cargo District at 1607 Queen Street. Black looks at it as more than just a place to sell handmade jewelry, apparel and home goods. She sees it as an opportunity to educate the community about the mission of fighting hunger, and possibly welcome new volunteers to the effort.
“All the products that you see are handmade by people in need, who live in poverty,” Black said. “That is one of the cornerstones of how we believe you can fight hunger is by creating gainful employment opportunities for people in need. Additionally, what’s so cool is that every single product in our shop is going to give seven meals to children and families locally.”
You can click here to visit the Half United website and learn more about the organization’s efforts.
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