Giant talks turkey with Philabundance

News Source: Delaware County Daily Times

By Lois Puglionesi, Times Correspondent

HAVERFORD >> Giant supermarket in Havertown partnered with Philabundance this week to ensure that needy families share a nourishing holiday meal, with turkey as the main course.

Employees of both organizations helped load 1,000 frozen Giant brand turkeys onto a Philabundance truck on Thursday for distribution to about 400 food pantries, shelters and emergency kitchens in the agency’s nine-county network. The network includes Delaware, Bucks, Montgomery, Chester and Philadelphia counties in Pennsylvania, and Salem, Gloucester, Camden and West Burlington counties in New Jersey, Philabundance spokeswoman Lindsay Hughes said.

Giant Community and Public Relations Manager Christopher Brand said Giant purchased and donated the turkeys as part of its ongoing effort to eradicate hunger in the region.

Since Philabundance shares the same goal, “We’re natural partners … We make sure they get the turkeys, and they make sure it gets to the right families,” said Brand.

Weighing 14-16 pounds each, the turkeys totaled about 15,000 pounds.

“One turkey lasts a long time. It can be used to make soup and leftover dishes,” said Brand, enough to feed a family half a week.

Giant made similar donations this holiday season to the Central Virginia Food Bank and the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank, Brand said.

Additionally, Giant has donated a total 1.5 million pounds of food to feed the needy through its Frozen Meat program, begun in 2010. The store also sponsors a Bag Hunger campaign in spring and fall, which benefits 110 local food pantries, and a Two Day Old Bread program.

“The best way to thank our customers is to give back to our communities,” Brand said.

Hughes thanked Giant and said the two organizations have worked together for two decades. With help from partners like Giant, Philabundance provides food to about 75,000 Delaware Valley residents each week through direct neighborhood distribution programs and member agencies.

Recipients include low income residents at risk of hunger and food insecurity. Children make up 23 percent of the total, with senior citizens comprising 16 percent.

Overall, approximately 900,000 Delaware Valley residents are at risk of hunger daily, Hughes said. Philabundance has experienced a 24 percent spike since last year in the number of people requesting food assistance.

“We keep seeing the need increase. Every year there are more people coming to us for food. People who never needed food before are coming to food pantries for assistance because they can’t make ends meet … We can’t fight hunger without help from community partners like Giant,” said Hughes.

Philabundance was formed in 1984 with the belief that no one should go hungry. After merging with the Philadelphia Food Bank in 2005, it has become the region’s largest hunger relief organization. Philabundance is also part of the Feeding America network, which includes 200 food banks, Hughes said.

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