Philabundance: Hunger in suburbs adds to worries for food bank

By Solomon D. Leach
Metro Philadelphia

Ten minutes before the weekly Fresh For All distribution by Philabundance closed for the day, the line of folks in the parking lot of Christ Lutheran Church in Upper Darby was still growing. Some people had sacks, while others pushed carts. Regardless of how they carried it, each left with bags full of fresh produce.

“Every little bit helps,” said Stephon Crews, as he managed two bags of rolls, lettuce and potatoes. A maintenance worker who was recently laid off, Crews said he and his wife found the program about a month ago.

“I have three kids. Their friends come over and everybody wants something to eat, so I try to provide something for those who might not have” he said.

While poverty is often portrayed as an inner-city problem, those in the ‘burbs have been suffering as well due to the recession’s grip, according to officials who work with the poor in the Philadelphia region.

As an example of the need, Pastor David Shaheen, of Christ Lutheran, said he has people lining up at 5:30 a.m. for the weekly distribution which starts at 10:30. Many are unemployed, but many others are working, sometimes two jobs, he noted.

“Feeding a family today is not easy,” he said. “We have a nine-year-old grandchild and you could spend five bucks on a box of cereal right now.”

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