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'We create partnerships to save and protect our natural resources, livelihoods, health and cultural heritage'


Fifth in a series: During GivingTuesday, CityView Today is spotlighting a few of the 79 nonprofit agencies supported by the Cumberland Community Foundation’s annual observance of the global day of generosity. Make your gift here between November 20th and November 29th to have it amplified by a $550,000 match.

TODAY: We speak with Ammie McRae Jenkins, executive director of Sandhills Family Heritage Association.

CITYVIEW: Why is your organization’s work vital to the people you serve?

AMMIE JENKINS: SFHA provides programs and services to help minority and low-income families who need assistance to meet basic daily needs. We create partnerships to save and protect our natural resources, livelihoods, health and cultural heritage. Our work is important because it empowers young people, honors community elders, ancestors and heritage keepers, and serves as a community resource for social, environmental, economic, educational, and health and wellness benefits. 

How does what you do benefit the community as a whole?

SFHA’s work engages our youth in community education projects; honors community elders and heritage keepers; documents the history and heritage of rural Sandhills African Americans; supports small minority landowners and farmers; promotes healthy eating and active living; provides locally grown produce at our Sandhills Farmers & Heritage Market in Spring Lake; gives up to $20 in free produce to SNAP/EBT customers; sponsors a food pantry and diaper bank; distributes food and supplies at various sites in Cumberland, Harnett and Lee Counties; delivers Senior Food Boxes to the sick and homebound; preserves historic community properties and cultural assets; provides income opportunities for entrepreneurs and handcrafters; participates in Spring Lake Community Development; and offers heritage group tours and school field trip tours to visitors and tourists from across the United States. The tours are designed to support local restaurants, hotels, churches and retail businesses. 

Tell us about your operation, and what your annual budget allows you to do — and how you make decisions about what gets left out if there’s a budget shortfall… 

The SFHA budget supports programs of HOPE that depend on staff and volunteers to deliver food, water and personal care items to those whose lives are impacted by poverty, hunger and homelessness. 

HOPE programs provide History and Heritage, Outreach Education, Preservation of Land, and Economic Self-Sufficiency. 

When there’s a budget shortfall the SFHA board determines which services and projects to curtail and/or decrease. The services that are most likely to be affected are our free benefits to SNAP/EBT customers, community education workshops and staff that manages and coordinates all SFHA programs and services. 

How does the financial boost you get from the Cumberland Community Foundation make a difference in the life of your organization?

Support from the Cumberland Community Foundation is critical to the operation of SFHA. We have developed and maintained a working relationship with CCF for almost 10 years. The CCF Giving Tuesday Campaign has been a tremendous help in SFHA fundraising activities. The CCF Space Grant has helped SFHA maintain our office space, which is located in the CCF building on Green Street. CCF Community Impact Grants have helped our organization train the next generation leadership, build sustainable organization capacity, pay staff and operating expenses, and provide Programs of HOPE and services to under-served communities in Cumberland County. 

What’s your message to those who are considering supporting the Foundation? 

SFHA highly recommends support of CCF because of its established reputation and integrity in the nonprofit community. Since 2014, SFHA has worked with CCF and is grateful for the Office Space Grants, Community Funds Grants and GivingTuesday support that helps maintain SFHA’s capacity to make a difference in the community. 

Why should they be a part of GivingTuesday and support the campaign?

For over 22 years SFHA has provided HOPE programs, projects, and services that engage all segments of our community to improve the quality of life of under-served Sandhills families. We partner with local churches and businesses, military veterans, state, county and government agencies, universities and community colleges, landowners and farmers, senior citizens, and youth development groups. SFHA is grassroots-led, family-focused, community-engaged and internationally connected.

About Ammie McRae Jenkins: Jenkins is the founder and Community Outreach Ambassador of Sandhills Family Heritage Association, a nonprofit organization that provides programs and services to build self-sufficiency, protect family land, promote health and wellness, and preserve rural African American cultural heritage. Jenkins’ book, “Preserving Our Family Heritage,” is a documentation of her family history that dates back to 1768. Her goal is to help others preserve the stories of people, places and experiences that have impacted their lives. She also the author of “Healing From the Land,” a book that documents African American traditional uses of plants and herbs to maintain personal health and Manchester The African American Experience.

GivingTuesday community foundation ammie Jenkins