Western Wake Crisis Ministry

If you had $20 what would you buy to feed your family for the longest period of time?

This is a question many families face every day. Whether it is the result of a natural disaster, financial difficulties or general hardship, families who struggle to make ends meet need assistance and support. Many immediately think of the Red Cross or the local food banks for aid, but fail to realize that there are a number of smaller organizations that strive to help those in their own community.

Western Wake Crisis Ministry, a food pantry and financial aid organization serving residents of Apex, Holly Springs, New Hill and Friendship, provides immediate assistance to people experiencing emergency situations related to food, shelter and other basic human needs.

Founded in 1983 by Antoinette Clark, a parishioner of St. Andrews Catholic Church, the organization first operated out of the basement of a Baptist church and successfully served about seven families a week. With the help of local businesses and volunteers, WWCM is now able to serve about 80 families each week.

The Western Wake Crisis Ministry in Apex assists those in need with food or crisis financial aid. Donations fill the grocery pantry. The ministry distributes food to almost 350 families each month.

Rebecca Sidden, director of WWCM, explains that the pantry is set up like a small grocery store where individuals who qualify may come in once every 30 days to choose the food they wish to bring home to their families.

The  wide range of choices include canned items, rice, pasta and sauce, peanut butter, jelly, cereal, bakery items, cheese, eggs, frozen meats, fresh produce and toiletries if available.
Sidden said, “About 90 percent of the items are donated locally and the other 10 percent  is purchased from the food bank. We try to get as many things locally as we can.”

WWCM not only feeds families, but also provides financial assistance with everything from utility bills and rent to prescriptions. Individuals can receive this assistance once a year if they meet the specific requirements.

Sidden said, “All of these funds are raised privately through individuals, churches, local businesses and fundraisers, with the exception of a small grant through the Apex Peakfest Committee.”

Volunteer Deb Purks (left) helps client Lizzie Hayes fill a wagon with food.

With regard to helping families in need, she said, “It is hard for us to accurately measure success because we see families in crisis and do not always hear from them about how things turn out. We are typically able to help them avert urgent situations like power cutoffs, needing medication, facing eviction and needing help preventing that.”

 WWCM is run by Sidden, who has been with the organization since 1999 and has a master’s degree in administrative social work, and Sue Mooney, a part-time development director with a background in marketing.

Volunteers are the heart and soul of the organization. Under the direction of lead volunteer Marjie Johnson, volunteers run the kitchen, help with food pickups, assist with welcoming visitors and assessing needs and offer financial aid assistance and counseling.

Volunteers who are unable to come to the headquarters, located in Apex, help collect food in their community and raise money with a variety of fundraisers.

In order to maintain ample amounts of supplies to give out, WWCM compiles a wish list of items they are low on, or that are in frequent demand. This list can be found on the group’s Facebook page.

Johnson said, We are trying to provide good wholesome, nutritious food to those in need.”
Must-have items are canned meat, soup, beans, rice, dry milk, canned vegetables, crackers, Hamburger Helper and macaroni and cheese. In addition, soap and kitchen supplies are also in great demand.

Volunteer Becky Vickery stocks shelves. Volunteers are crucial to the WWCM and can be found in the facility’s kitchen, picking up food and welcoming and counseling visitors.

If by now you are wondering how you can be a part of WWCM, be sure to mark your calendar for the 11th annual Neighbors Helping Neighbors Benefit on Oct. 6 and 7 at MacGregor Downs Country Club in Cary.

This is the largest fundraiser that WWCM holds each year, and  members of the community are invited to join them for  dinner and an auction on Oct. 6, or for a day of golf on Oct. 7.

Sidden said, “As always, we are so grateful for the community’s help in making our services possible! We could not do it without such kind and generous assistance from local supporters.”

Get Involved with WWCM
Upcoming Events
WWCM 11th annual Benefit Dinner/Auction & Golf Classic
Sunday Oct. 6 at 5:30 p.m. and Monday Oct. 7 at 6 p.m.  

Volunteer Opportunities

  • Help pick up food donations from a local grocery in the morning between 9:30 and 10 a.m. You will be paired with another volunteer.
  • Help answer phones and other small administrative tasks. During busy times, you may help process families requesting food aid, if you are interested.
  • Help unload USDA food deliveries on the fourth Thursday of each month between 10 a.m. and noon.
  • Youth over the age of 12 may volunteer inside the Western Wake Crisis Ministry facility under the supervision of their parent on Sundays when a volunteer is available to assist with projects. Email director@wwcm.org for hours and information.
  • For youth project ideas that can be done outside the WWCM office on its  behalf, visit wwcm.org.


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