Humble Beginnings …

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Humble Beginnings …

It’s our Birthday month!! July 2021 marks 15 years of serving together at Common Heart! We’ve got a lot of fun things planned to celebrate this month and we’re so excited to share some stories as we take a peek at what Common Heart has looked like through the years.

Before the name was chosen and waaaay before there were food pantry warehouses, offices, employees and box trucks, there were “just neighbors helping neighbors” providing groceries to struggling families. 

That’s the beginning Deb Adams, Common Heart co-founder, remembers. Start a nonprofit? 

Deb Adams, Common Heart

“That wasn’t even a thought,” she said. What was top of mind was helping two neighbors through a rough time. The idea actually started with fellow neighbor and dear friend Barbara Wilder.

“Barbara found a neighbor in need who didn’t have family or anybody nearby to help. In the same neighborhood, we met a woman whose husband had lost his job and they had very little food in the house and several children. We talked about it and began to realize that there were basic needs around us. Who was watching out for these people? Who was taking care of these people?”

So they gathered some extras from their own kitchens and started to serve. What they were doing spread by word of mouth — fast! The two ladies would sometimes find nonperishables left on their doorsteps or beside their vehicles in grocery store parking lots. They started serving more families and the most frequent question they heard was: “What can I do to help?”

“In the beginning there was this organicness about it that we treasured because we saw people come together to help just by word of mouth,” Deb said. “It was amazing to see it snowball when there was no name, it was just people. It caught on and was a real melting pot of people and it was a sense of a community pulling together. That just had a different feel to it and an excitement that we would get about it and go ‘whoa, what happened here? Is this something? Is it supposed to be something?’ We thought we were just going to help a few neighbors.” 

Neighborhood food drives started for this no-name group of kind folks – which often included students – and they would gather together on Saturdays to deliver groceries door-to-door in low income neighborhoods. They’d host Christmas parties in these neighborhoods to make sure the kids got a little something and bag up new beauty products to give away to the ladies they met. 

“Our kids were in elementary school during this time and grew up thinking ‘that’s what we do on weekends. We go around and help people every Saturday,’” she said. “I might not have realized at the time how important it was to teach my kids the idea of thinking of others, being mindful of others, being aware that they may have needs that we don’t. We should be mindful and care and motivated by the fact that we have the opportunity and we should be humbled by the fact that we can be vessels of kindness and caring to someone and that may change their lives forever.” 

Help us celebrate as we hope to serve more families in 2021! Give $15 (or more!) in honor of our 15th! We’d love to fill our office with Birthday cards too! Give online at: or mail a check (payable to Common Heart) at: PO Box 2761, Indian Trail, NC 28079

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