Driving out hunger: An Inside Look at Philabundance’s KidsBites Initiative
By: Lauren Berman
Philabundance transports roughly 30 million pounds of food each year to families and individuals facing hunger throughout the Delaware Valley…but have you ever wondered how they do it? PHL17’s Lauren Berman follows one of the nonprofit’s employees to find out.
Philabundance currently employs ten transportation drivers, who collectively travel 375 miles per week to bring food and supplies to different Philabundance programs. The food can be from Philabundance warehouses through donations, or collected from participating food grocers, such as Acme and ShopRite. Philabundance currently owns eight trucks.
“KidsBites is my favorite place to go because you see that you really make a difference.” says Christopher Williams.
Williams has been a driver with Philabundance for 6 years, and is the sole transporter to their KidsBites Children’s Initiative held at Lowell Elementary School in the Olney section of Philadelphia. Established in 2012, KidsBites runs every other Thursday in the school’s auditorium, a program which is open to each child at the school.
“Most of our children are under the poverty line.” says Diane Gillen, a second grade teacher at Lowell Elementary. “Our school is a Title I school, which means all of our students are entitled to free breakfast and free lunch every day.”
Shareale Musgrave has been going to KidsBites with her three children for the past four months.
“It’s great.” says Musgrave. “I love the variety, and they look forward to coming up here every two weeks to get it. They’ll be making sure that I bring my bag to come up here and get it too.”
“It’s hard, because they are hungry,” says Gillen. “And for us on the education side, it impacts them because they are not focused on their learning and they are not feeling good. They have headaches, they get stomach aches, we’re sending them to the nurse. Philabundance for us has been great, because it puts that food in their house. They’re getting dinner at night. There really is that correlation to the education, not just the hunger piece, it goes hand in hand.”