TRANSFORMING HUNGER: THE VISIONARY JAMES HARRIS
James Harris is the heart and visionary behind Harvest Community Charities and to know him is to understand that he is a man with a heart for others, period. What led James to the creation of HCC is a personal and well balanced understanding of the needs of hunger and poverty related issues in regards to children and families. Growing up in Texas, James was one of five children with a father who worked to provide and a mother because of family size and income levels had to be creative in feeding a family of seven on a daily basis. At the age of eleven his mother passed away and his aunt moved him and his siblings to Louisiana to be closer to family and they had to be creative in a different manner to provide for a now extended family of ten people. They lived and worked on a farm and it was the job of the children to help raise the food that they would eat at their own table. During this time James not only worked on the farm in the wee hours of the morning and at night, but he also held two other jobs. One of those jobs began in a grocery store as a bag clerk where he worked his way up over the years. In the course of his career he has worked in all areas of the food and grocery industry including: owning retail convenience stores, operations, sales, manufacturing, and distribution. He also spent seven years in the ministry where he was providing food and assisting families in need which led to the establishment of Harvest Community Charities. Understanding the background of the visionary behind this program is essential in knowing why he envisions simple solutions that are today right before us. Simple for the customer, simple for the retailer, and simple for the agencies that will benefit. The vision of James and HCC is to link charitable organizations with the grocery industry to establish grocery stores in these food desert areas. These enterprises will help to revitalize blighted areas, create jobs and rejuvenate hope for those who desperately need it.
TRANSFORMING HUNGER: IMPACT
With Harvest Community Charities partnering with area agencies the potential impact to eradicate hunger for children and families is in the millions. Data models will be produced with each market we are involved in to assess the population counts and evaluate the needs of each city and county. By working with agencies and charities that have existing relationships, the needs will be more readily identified for each community. This is what we do know. HCC was born from a need within the faith based community when an ever increasing and growing revolving door of people in need were coming in and more resources, food, and supplies were being given than were being generated. What happens when a single mother with three children goes to her local, church, who sends her to the local United Way, who then sends her on to the area food bank and each place she arrives has empty shelves or no way to care for her children’s and her needs? This partnership alleviates the pushing from one resource to another in hopes that she may find help, and provides a solution to be able to give her what she needs to make sure that her children are fed. This also allows the agencies and charities to do what it is they were created to do. This is where the impact starts and also where it can be completed as monies are recycled within their own community to satisfy the needs of those who live in food insecure households. The agencies that are involved may then focus on their true mission to begin influencing generational change throughout all areas of their community.
- The not-for-profit organization, Harvest Community Charities, started in 2007 as the vision of founder and executive director James Harris, a 30 year veteran in the food and grocery business. His heart is to enable communities to help themselves by accessing nutritious food, creating jobs and revitalizing neighborhoods.
- Started in 2005, Harvest Midwest is a for-profit business, again created by James Harris, president/CEO. With 30 years in the food industry, Harris knows first-hand every area of the grocery business, having worked from the ground up as bagger to executive leadership with multi-million dollar grocery chains. He leads a team that knows what it takes to open and run a healthy, productive and profitable grocery operation.