It was less than 18 months ago Philabundance staff, donors, and community partners gathered in North Philadelphia to break ground on the future site of the Philabundance Community Kitchen (PCK)—but on September 22, the scene at 2224 N. 10th Street looked much different.
Joined by elected officials, both local and regional, Philabundance CEO Loree D. Jones kicked off the outdoor, socially-distanced event to celebrate a project 20 years in the making; a new home for PCK.
The newly completed 18,000 square foot facility served as the perfect backdrop for the event, featuring state-of-the-art spaces to support the culinary training and life skills program for low income adults by preparing them for success and connecting them to job opportunities in the food service industry.
The program, which modified its instruction and operation throughout the COIVD-19 crisis, was also responsible for supplying upwards of 4,500 additional meals per week to community agencies and shelters throughout Philadelphia and the surrounding region throughout the pandemic.
Philabundance was honored to welcome both Governor Tom Wolf and First Lady Frances Wolf, who spoke about role that Philabundance, specifically PCK, plays in Pennsylvania’s work to address and end food insecurity throughout the state. Read the First Lady’s full remarks below:
I am so thrilled to have the opportunity to celebrate this program, this place, and this organization.
Food security has long been a priority of the Wolf Administration. And as Pennsylvania – and the world – has responded to the COVID-19 pandemic, it has become clear that now more than ever, people need help. They need help feeding themselves, feeding their families, and ultimately accessing resources to help them survive during this difficult time.
Philabundance and the entire charitable food network has worked tirelessly to meet the immediate needs of our friends and neighbors. To ensure that everyone has enough to eat. To provide hope. And yet, while emergency feeding efforts are absolutely crucial, we know that they alone cannot solve the issue of hunger.
While we feed our communities, we must also keep our eye on the root causes of hunger. Because those roots run deep. Hunger grows from poverty. It grows from inequity. And it grows for lack of opportunity.
I find the PCK program so exciting because it attacks the issue of hunger right at its roots. When students complete this program – as over 900 have in the past 20 years – they are armed not only with the culinary training and certifications to land a job, but also the life skills, connections, and opportunities necessary to truly thrive and grow in this world.
The curriculum includes food preparation, how to thrive in a professional kitchen setting, budgeting, meditation, interpersonal communication, resume building, interviewing, and more. From knife skills to life skills!
PCK is more than a workforce development program; it’s a personal development program. And the results? Empowerment that stretches across generations. A sense of personal pride in serving others. And a hearty chop to the roots of hunger.
Thank you to the students and the staff who have – and will continue to have – a positive impact not only on yourselves and your communities, but on Pennsylvania as a whole.
You inspire us all.
To learn more about PCK, its new home in North Philadelphia, and how your investment can change the lives of PCK students, visit www.philabundance.org.