April 1, 2013
Hatteras Island Meals is making a comeback
By JORDAN TOMBERLIN
Hatteras Island Meals was forced to suspend its operations in January,
the future of the organization looked uncertain—it was thousands of
dollars in debt and lacked a clear plan to address and resolve its most
But now, as a result of some important
changes, a little restructuring, and a lot of community support,
Hatteras Island Meals is slowly but surely reclaiming its wheels.
After suspending operations, then-president Dale Wheeler
organized a series of public meetings to assess the future of the
At the initial meeting on Monday, Feb. 18
at the Fessenden Center, Wheeler announced that he was looking for
community members to form an ad hoc committee that would, over the
course of the next four weeks, work to address the organization’s woes.
But one of the attendees, Natalie McIntosh—who is the director
of operations at REAL Watersports in Waves and had been volunteering as
a driver for Hatteras Island Meals since the previous November—didn’t
see any reason to wait that long.
And it’s her impatience that has led to the revival of Hatteras Island Meals.
the end of the first meeting, McIntosh had collected the names and
contact information of those who attended, and she created an e-mail
Within a week, she had created a Facebook page for the
organization, worked with designers at Cineaptic Digital Media to
create a new logo, and secured the domain names
hatterasislandmeals.org, .com, and .net in anticipation of creating a
And when Wheeler was unable to lead the second public
meeting on Feb. 25, McIntosh and fellow driver Rene Midgett stepped up
to conduct it.
At that second meeting, McIntosh and
Midgett addressed the financial state of the organization, determining
that the organization owed a total of $11,035.95 to its vendors.
also reviewed the income and expense reports from the two previous
years and discussed how the organization got so badly behind.
2011, [Hatteras Island Meals] started with $40,000 in the bank,”
McIntosh explained. “After Irene, it really started to erode...the
amount of need and the money going out outpaced the money coming in.”
the income and expenses reports provided the public with the specific
information they had been asking for since January, but assessing the
causes for the financial decline also revealed deeper, more systemic
problem: Hatteras Island Meals was all but invisible.
was no one in charge of outreach, no way to acknowledge consistent
donors and recruit new ones, no one to organize events, no one to
communicate with the vendors.
“Basically,” McIntosh said, “there was [no way] for us to cry from the rooftops, ‘We have a problem!’”
the end of the meeting, McIntosh and Midgett had solicited ideas for
fundraising events, discussed ways to lower costs, and talked about
ways to generate more private donations.
For McIntosh, one of
the most encouraging outcomes was the support she felt from the vendors
who attended the meeting. “They weren’t as concerned about getting
their money back as they were about getting things back on track,” she
said. “That was encouraging.”
Not too long after that second
meeting, Wheeler resigned his position as president of the
organization, and McIntosh wasted no time filling the void in
She organized a board meeting and suggested a
slight restructuring of the board. Two board members resigned, and
McIntosh proposed that two new board positions be created—donations
director and events director—positions she felt would address the
deficiencies in communication and outreach that had been revealed at
the second meeting.
Midgett has volunteered to fill the position of donations director, but the position of events director is still vacant.
In addition, McIntosh volunteered to serve as interim president of the organization.
agreed to serve for three months, explaining that she thought it would
only be fair that she and the board get to know one another before
making any permanent decisions—to make sure it’s a good fit for both of
So far, it seems her work speaks for itself.
presented the board with a proposed budget, which included an estimated
per diem cost of operation and a way to pay back the vendors
proportionally—based on the percentage of the organization’s debt that
they are owed.
So far, Hatteras Island Meals has secured
around $4,300 in donations—including donations from the Hatteras
village and the Rodanthe-Waves-Salvo civic associations—and when their
next round of checks goes out next week, they will have reduced their
debt to just over $6,000.
And McIntosh hopes that they will be
delivering meals again soon—though at a graduated pace, starting with
delivery three days per week, and working back up to full service from
“I don’t feel great about moving forward without a cushion and without having our vendors repaid in full,” she said.
But with any luck, it won’t be too long before the organization has a little nest egg.
addition to working with the county to secure funds, Hatteras Island
Meals has several exciting fundraising initiatives coming up.
Two events are scheduled for the near future. The first is a Karma Yoga benefit event on April 22 at Spa Koru.
Thompson will teach a beginner-level yoga class from 5:30 to 7
p.m. Admission will be by donation only, and all donations will
go to Hatteras Island Meals.
The second event, Hatteras Island Meals Barbeque, will be on May 2, from 5 – 8 p.m., at the Koru Village Beach Klub.
event will feature live music, Crazy Johnny’s Bar-B-Que, a
raffle, and a silent auction. To attend the event, individuals will
have to purchase a membership to the Beach Klub—that they will get to
keep and use all year—and Spa Koru will donate all proceeds from the
sales to Hatteras Island Meals.
In addition, Wes Lassiter, who
owns Red Drum Pottery, has promised that, for every ticket he sells to
the weekly Banjo Island shows at the pottery, he will donate $1 to
Hatteras Island Meals.
And, in what is perhaps the most
exciting initiative so far, a generous benefactor has issued a
challenge to the Hatteras Island community that, if met, would put
$20,000 in Hatteras Island Meals’ coffers.
would prefer to remain anonymous—has promised that if Hatteras Island
Meals can raise $10,000 in non-county donations by May 12, then he or
she will match it.
Donations can be made at any branch of The
East Carolina Bank. Or, you can send a check payable to Hatteras Island
Meals, Inc., P.O. Box 854, Buxton, NC 27920.
You can also follow Hatteras Island Meals on Facebook.