Welcome to our Spotlight Series, where we shine a light on the remarkable stories and journeys of individuals who have dedicated a year to service in the NC Campus Engagement VISTA program. Each installment of this series aims to delve deep into the achievements of those whose passion and dedication have done insurmountable work at each of their sites. This month we get to share the outstanding work of Rakeeme Baldwin who has served as the NC Hunger Corps VISTA at NC Central University in the campus pantry.

Before joining VISTA Rakeeme earned his bachelor’s degree in social work from NC Central and worked with the Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People (DCABP). This organization has worked in the Durham community for 89 years enhancing empowerment and equity. Now in his role as a VISTA, Rakeeme is a full time Master of Social Work Student and enjoys acting and writing scripts.

Rakeeme is tasked with organizing and managing the daily functions of the pantry at NC Central University. He plays a crucial role in recruiting pantry volunteers and ensuring there is increasing accessibility to the pantry. The pantry relies mainly on partnerships with organizations such as Food Lion, Harris Teeter, and many other community organizations. Rakeeme has built, developed, and maintained these partnerships over his year of service as to increase the capacity of the pantry to serve more patrons. NC Central opens its pantry doors to students, faculty, staff, and any alumni in the community who need access. In the time since Rakeeme started service last August he has been able to raise awareness for access to the pantry by an incredible 50%. With this increase in patronage, it is vital that he continues to maintain and create partnerships within the Durham community to keep allowing this access. Rakeeme has built an incredible alumni support network which has also led to the success of the pantry through donations.

With the amazing increase in access, funding, and partnerships Rakeeme maintains that his is most proud of atmosphere his has built around the pantry. He has been able to create and foster a space that is warm and welcoming to all patrons who visit the pantry. The environment he has created through the volunteers of the pantry has turned the space into a place that people want to come to and has built a sense of belonging.
We are incredibly proud of Rakeeme and his contributions to the VISTA program as well as NCCU. As he finishes up his Master’s degree we are excited to see him continue making an incredible impact in his community.


You can read more about the pantry at NC Central University here.

This blog post was written by Madeline DeLorenzo with information and support from Rakeeme Baldwin.