Randy Evans | Walking Tall Wilmington
Five Minutes with Randy Evans, Walking Tall Wilmington:
“I’m really community-oriented. I feel like what we do is good for the people being served, and it’s also good for the businesses we work with – they set an example.“
Helping with Intention
Before starting Walking Tall Wilmington, I was director of Hope Center for a year and a half. My name and my reach got out – I’ve been building these relationships for two years. I’m really intentional about that.
If you have a restaurant, or a food truck, there is definitely a way for you to help impoverished people in our community… I’ve had some great connections, like Buffalo Wild Wings, Giorgio’s in Monkey Junction, and Dominos, and I realized that I could do fundraisers in local breweries, and then made the connection between those breweries and the food trucks. Jules DeBord, of Ramen a Go Go, committed to doing meals every Tuesday. Catch the Food Truck is doing a weekly lunch for our friends. And we’ve had Soulful Twist work with us, and Pender’s Cafe. When we do a meal with a partner food truck or restaurant, we serve between 25 and 50 meals to people who need food. If we are in a building, we can serve up to 90 people.
Walking the Walk
I’ve been growing Walking Tall Wilmington since April 2017, and we’re working on incorporating and getting our nonprofit status. We exist to build interpersonal relationships with persons living in poverty – we do that by remaining mobile. One of the biggest challenges of living in poverty is that, because you are on the street, your options aren’t great, and what is problematic is that a lot of the resources are established and non-mobile in the downtown area, or on the outskirts. There are a lot of individuals in New Hanover and Brunswick that don’t have the means to get to those resources.
We take resources – food, clothes, transportation for medical appointments, helping people get IDs – to where the need is. The word gets out about where to find us. We try to create rhythms. Establishing stability is a big part of what we do. We refer to the people we are working with as “family and friends.” We care about each other. This is a community, the people on the streets, and there is value in that. It’s really family-oriented.
We see that everything doesn’t work for every situation or every person, so we can be creative in how we match resources to those in need. We don’t receive state or federal grants; we really work within the community. We don’t use the people we serve as our “project,” we don’t objectify them. When there are celebrations to be had, we celebrate. When there are tragedies, we mourn.
Sharing Gifts: Food and more
If you have gifts to share, get in touch with Walking Tall to figure out how to connect with people in need. We all have this unconscious fear and anxiety about engaging with people in poverty, and Walking Tall works to mediate that connection. If you have something that you can give to help, Walking Tall can find people who need what you can offer. I have a standard list of things that are needed, of course, but I can make it possible for you to share what you can give: if you cut hair, let’s cut hair. If you teach yoga, I’ll find a place to do yoga. If you do acupuncture, I will make that happen, too. We don’t all function the same, and that’s okay to be conscious of.
Find Randy’s contact info at
Walking Tall Wilmington on Facebook
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