Nick has spent 2 years with UMWC. He ran Backpack Buddies at IFFS 10 years ago and said, “it changed me inside…this is what I prayed for. People think I am full of myself but I am happy – this is what I asked for.”
When asked about his connection with Backpack Buddies, what he has gone through growing up and in adult life, culture and climate:
“I am into helping people and it makes me feel good. I tell people thank you for your positive energy. Just like I feed them, they feed me.
I took a week off and I didn’t want to be gone. We have a lot of new clients now and I know them very well. It’s a lot more personable now.
I have a specific lady who started coming a month who had COVID – coming here has given me strength back to try and start working again. She was really down, but the produce helps her. A lot of people are just extremely grateful.
Everybody is going through something right now. Some people are coming who have never gone through anything like this before.
I had no idea what was going to happen. I have changed my viewpoint. I was worried about myself and my family. I am my own worst critic. I totally changed how I feel. We are going to put our heads down and look up when it’s over.”
Nick is from Raleigh and grew up here in a drug-infested neighborhood.
“I caused a lot of my own trouble and I paid for it. I looked up one day and I wanted to get off that ride. It has taken longer than I expected. I like where I am right now. The things I went through I can use to give back to the people that come through these lines. Even if you do everything right – you still might not make it. There have been times I haven’t been able to take care of my own children.
If you look at the odds – they were against me. A lot of those things I did to myself – but if I can make it, anybody can make it.
All of the pain and struggles I have had have really helped the people I serve.
I speak poverty. If I won 4 million dollars tonight, I would still come to work on Monday because the main goal of UMWC is to serve people. We are here to help people – that is the main goal, that is the objective.
What does the near future look like?
“I have no idea and it’s terrifying. We are running pedal to the metal – we can’t stop. We have gone from feeding people once every three months to once every week. These are the most uncertain times of my life and I have been through some things.”
What do you need?
“Outreach and awareness and money.
There are more than 130,000 who identify as food insecure in Wake county – we help more than 30,000 – I want to help bridge that gap.”