Every November, Philabundance partners with 6ABC to raise awareness on the issue of food insecurity and highlight those working to fight hunger in our region through a series of news pieces. Although COVID forced a lot of holiday traditions to pivot, 6ABC was able to adapt its annual telethon, food drive and hunger series to ensure its audience remained informed about the increases in hunger and ways to help our neighbors in need.
In years past, 6ABC would air four stories about Philabundance’s hunger relief efforts. Because of the major impacts COVID has had on our operations, 6ABC increased that number to six, providing viewers with an even bigger glimpse into the 60 percent increase in need seen across Greater Philadelphia.
This year, 6ABC featured stories on new Philabundance CEO Loree Jones, our partnership with Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS), the opening of our new job training facility, two dedicated volunteers and two additional stories on Philabundance partner agencies making a difference in their communities during the pandemic.
This series is part of the larger holiday food drive, supported by ACME and Dunkin. We truly appreciate 6ABC and its partners for supporting Philabundance during such trying times. These news stories show that we cannot drive hunger from our communities and end hunger for good without awareness, collaboration and support.
1. New Philabundance chief sees dramatic increase in need due to COVID-19
Philabundance CEO Loree Jones joined the Philabundance team in the midst of the pandemic and has hit the ground running to meet the increased need. From navigating safety and PPE equipment to accessing more food at increased prices, Loree has seen firsthand how big of an impact this pandemic has had on the charitable food network. To learn more about our new CEO, check out this blog!
2. 21st century victory gardens: Planting a seed for neighbors in need in Philadelphia
During the pandemic, Philabundance began partnering with PHS’s Harvest 2020 program. Aimed at connecting produce grown in local community gardens to nearby food pantries, the program has grown more than 32,000 pounds of food for our neighbors. Click here for more info on this powerful program!
3. Philabundance Community Kitchen teaches knife skills & life skills
The Philabundance Community Kitchen (PCK) is a free 16-week culinary arts and job training program for low-to-no-income adults looking for a path to self-sufficiency. The 20-year-old program opened the doors to its new state-of-the-art facility in North Philadelphia in September and will be graduating its inaugural class this December. If you are interested in joining or supporting the program, visit Philabundance.org/PCK/.
4. Meet 2 dedicated Philabundance volunteers making sure others don’t go hungry
Dana Cooper and Jack Bradley are two essential Philabundance volunteers who help run our twice weekly HUB, a food distribution for partner agencies to pick up extra food. According to Philabundance Warehouse Manager Donnamaria Valenza, we wouldn’t be able to run the HUB without Dana and Jack, especially during COVID. If these gentlemen inspired you to want to volunteer, click here to sign up for a shift today!
5. Retired Army veteran continuing to serve community through church food program
Since COVID hit our region, Michael Bennett and the Upper Room Baptist Church have hosted free food distributions every Monday-Friday to ensure everyone in the West Oak Lane area has access to food. This Philabundance partner agency is one of the City of Philadelphia’s free food distribution sites and even has its own pantry run by Mr. Bennett called 2 Fish 5 Loaves. To support Philabundance and agencies like the Upper Room, visit Philabundance.org and donate today.
6. Small Things nonprofit working to make larger community impact through food distribution
Seniors are one of the most vulnerable populations impacted by the pandemic. Small Things, formerly known as Easter Outreach, has worked throughout COVID to ensure seniors have access to home delivered food so they don’t have to put themselves at risk by going to the store. Pastor Vito Baldini of Liberti Church, a Philabundance partner agency, spearheaded Small Things and it is quickly turning into something big. To get involved with senior food deliveries with Small Things, visit smallthingsphilly.org/.