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Philabundance Commemorates 30 Years of Squashing Hunger With Acme

May 19, 2014- Philadelphia, Pa. – Philabundance, the Delaware Valley’s largest hunger relief organization, is commemorating its 30th anniversary throughout 2014. On May 13, 1984, Pamela Rainey Lawler picked up the first official food donation for Philabundance at an Acme Markets store. The 30th anniversary was observed with a food donation from Acme Markets in South Philadelphia.

Pamela Rainey Lawler, Bill Clark, current executive director of Philabundance, Jim Perkins, CEO of Acme and Pastor Patricia Neal of Feast of Justice Food Pantry in Philadelphia were all on site for the kick-off event that took place at a South Philadelphia Acme located at 1901 Johnston Street. Acme donated food to Feast of Justice through Philabundance’s Grocers Against Hunger Program. Acme also donated gift cards to Feast of Justice.

Grocers Against Hunger works with local grocers to provide much needed healthy and nutritious food to neighbors in need across the Delaware Valley. This program is also the only growing source of donated food for Philabundance. Since 2006, Acme Markets has donated more than 13.7 million pounds of food or 13.7 million meals through the Grocers Against Hunger Program. This South Philadelphia store has donated more than 218,000 pounds of food or 218,000 meals since 2009.

“Philabundance has grown tremendously since its start in 1984, in order to meet the growing need for food assistance,” said Bill Clark, president and executive director of Philabundance.  “Over the last 30 years we have adapted in response to changing economy, decreasing availability of donated food, coupled with the changing face of hunger.  We are focusing more on working with local communities to find the best collaborative approaches to increase food availability and other services to end hunger once and for all. Hunger is a community-wide problem that requires a community-wide response and if enough people work together, we are hopeful that Philabundance’s services will not be needed in 30 years from now.”

“It’s hard to believe that 30 years ago the idea of collecting and distributing fresh, perishable foods was an untested one – and thought to be impossible,” said Pamela Rainey Lawler, founder and board member of Philabundance. “After much research, it became clear that the surplus food available could begin to alleviate the growing problem of hunger in Philadelphia. What was missing was the middleman – the transportation system. Once that was created, it was the commitment, generosity, and caring of those early adopters – the local Acme store manager, the caterers, farmers market merchants, restaurateurs and others – who helped me prove that with good logistics, safe food handling, and dedicated drivers, we could get healthful foods to those in need quickly and efficiently.”

“Acme is so proud to have been the first supermarket to partner with Philabundance.  It is an honor to be associated with this great organization that does so much to help fight hunger in the Delaware Valley.  Acme’s focus has been, and remains to be, helping the needy in our communities.  We look forward to continuing our work with Philabundance”, said Jim Perkins, president of Acme Markets.

The amount of people in need of food assistance in the Delaware Valley increases year over year which is why Philabundance has created a number of ways to provide people with access to nutritious food. According to Feeding America’s Map the Meal Gap study, 135.5 million meals were missed in 2012 by people in the communities Philabundance serves. And according to a survey conducted by Philabundance their partners are experiencing a 143% increase in need over the last four years.

There are so many ways to get involved in the fight against hunger and Philabundance will be throwing events throughout the year in observance. Log on to www.philabundance.org or call 215-339-0900 for more information.

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