As Director of Food Sourcing, Kait Bowdler and her 10-person team is responsible for all of the food that comes into Philabundance to be distributed. In her five and a half years with us, she has been an integral piece of our puzzle.
When COVID-19 swept the world by storm last year, thousands of additional individuals and families in the Delaware Valley turned to our agency partners and us as many faced hunger for the very first time. In 2019, the annual distribution was 28 million pounds of food, and that number jumped to 56 million pounds in 2020.
In response to the pandemic, Kait’s creative and mission-driven team has grown exponentially. They oversee all food donations from rescued food from retailers, farmers, and manufacturers, federal and state commodities programs and purchasing from vendors that allow us to obtain more diverse products.
Kait says she is most impressed with the relationships we have with our retailers and the incredible way they stepped up when everyone was hurting. “At their worst moments, our partners were still reaching out to us to find ways to donate their surplus food. They were amazing,” she says. We’re happy to announce that the reduced retail donations to Philabundance due to the coronavirus are returning to pre-pandemic levels.
A self-proclaimed “bleeding-heart,” Kait centers her life around helping others, emphasizing that everyone gets the healthy food they need. She believes that food not only creates community but creates opportunities for people.
Her motivation stems from her drive to fend off of any challenge thrown her way. Always one to search for innovations, Kait enjoys finding ways to provide others with the opportunities they deserve. She’s always asking herself and her team, “How can we do this better?”