Meet First in Families


If you’ve ever left a meeting and thought to yourself, “that was awesome,” then you know how Farmer Foodshare’s partnership with First in Families of North Carolina started. When the South Durham Farmers' Market began offering a Wednesday market and decided to expand their Donation Station program from only Saturdays to Wednesdays as well, the search for a new recipient began and ended at First in Families of Durham. In their unassuming, cheery office (complete with dogs!) Farmer Foodshare sat down with Wanda and Krysta and learned about all of the incredible work they do in the Durham community. 

South Durham Farmers' Market

First in Families provides family support to people with developmental disabilities and traumatic brain injuries, all the while building community relationships and fostering self determination. In the Durham area, they serve around 200 people, connecting people to partner organizations and services like the Reality Center, or stretching public dollars to ease families’ budgets. It's easy to see why their incredibly dedicated volunteer base jumped at the opportunity to start this partnership.

Already the partnership with the Donation Station program has had a few different benefits for their clients. Farmer Foodshare and the South Durham Farmers' Market began a relationship earlier this year to allow vendors to accept food assistance vouchers in the form of SNAP and EBT. Many of the First in Families clients lack access to fresh food, oftentimes because they have to juggle high medical bills with the rest of their expenses, or because they don't have transportation to stores providing healthy food options. In an effort to alleviate some of their financial burdens and allow them to eat more healthy food, the Donation Station volunteers have been working with First In Families to get SNAP and EBT flyers to their clients that qualify. That way they can learn all about those wooden tokens and how to buy fresh, local food at farmer’s markets through the program. 

Julian Ballen picking up the donations for First in Families

Donations from the South Durham Farmer’s Market are picked up by a First In Families self-advocate Julian Ballen and his father. They are the perfect example of the First In Families network hard at work to help support each other! Julian is proud of all of the work he does at First In Families and brought a flyer to point out his picture on it. Friendly, prompt, and full of gratitude, the Ballens take the donations back to the First In Families office, where they are distributed the following morning to the families with the greatest need (as decided by the staff and board). First In Families has connected Farmer Foodshare’s donations to some amazing people, and provided a partnership to help support the Wednesday market at South Durham Farmers' Market!

If you would like to volunteer at the Wednesday South Durham Donation Station from 3:30-6:30pm, email us at

For more information on First In Families of Durham, check out the website:; their twitter:; or their facebook page: