Raleigh chef, Lenovo come together to help Wake County kids during COVID-19 pandemic

ABC11 Together highlights the strength of the human spirit, good deeds, community needs, and how our viewers can help
RALEIGH (WTVD) -- A bed not only ensures a child's physical well-being with a good comfortable night's sleep, it also ensures psychological well-being with a sense of belonging, a sense of ownership, a sense of self-worth.

That's one of Raleigh's Green Chair Project's main missions, to make sure kids have beds.

It's a mission that resonated with award winning chef Scott Crawford who told ABC11, "I was just struck by what they're doing here."

The nonprofit supplies beds to children who don't have them and also gives furniture to needy families.

When Crawford first heard about the Green Chair Project five years ago, he asked to help.

They put him to work organizing an annual fundraising dinner at Raleigh restaurants Crawford and Son and Jolie.

It was at those establishments that Crawford first met the president of Lenovo North America, a computer manufacturer headquartered in RTP. They struck up a friendship.

And one night, Crawford recalled, he mentioned his favorite charity.

"He wanted to learn more and he wanted to get involved. And it was just a couple days later I got a text from him that said, 'I think together we have the power to make a big difference here.'" Crawford said.

In January, Lenovo committed $175,000 to help.

A spokesperson for the company, Lisa Marie Ferrell, noted that Green Chair had identified 6,000 kids in Wake County alone that did not have beds of their own.

"And so we wanted, Lenovo wanted to make a difference to provide an environment for these children to thrive, to grow and to learn," Ferrell said.

That was just before the pandemic struck.

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Then in early spring, Crawford and Lenovo learned that Green Chair clients had another need, one that was right up Crawford's alley.

As volunteers delivered those much needed beds, they found kids that were hungry because they had lost one of their main food sources when their schools closed.

So Crawford reached to his friend Lenovo president Matt Zielinski and they hatched a plan.

"With Lenovo's financial help and my kitchen, we decided that again coming together we could make a difference and impact our community," Crawford said.

Tuesday, when Green Chair volunteers delivered a crib and children's beds to the home of a young Raleigh mother, they also dropped boxes containing nutritious meals made with ingredients handpicked by Crawford.

The mother, Shanekwa Ellis, was touched saying, "It's a true blessing to have the Green Chair be able to provide the beds and all these goodies for me and my family. You all are truly heroes during this pandemic."

And that's the reward for everyone involved in the Green Chair Project, a reward Crawford calls "soul-warming."

If you'd like to have your soul warmed by helping the Green Chair Project, just click here to find out how.
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