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Philabundance Paints Hunger Relief

By Tim Johnson
South Philly Review

The nonprofit added artwork to the facade of its headquarters’ new expansion just blocks from Citizens Bank Park.

Philabundance, along with the City of Philadelphia’s Mural Arts Program and the Writers Matter Program at La Salle University, unveiled a banner at its Hunger Relief Center, 3616 S. Galloway St., Thursday.

The banner, which promotes hunger awareness for needy families, is the collaborative work of muralists Meg Saligman and Jenna Price along with 23 students at various Northwest Philadelphia middle schools. Though mostly painted by the professionals, all of the themes and ideas for the banner came through the students.

“The father of this program is [Writers Matter Program’s Director] Bob Vogel,” said Philabundance President and Executive Director Bill Clark. “Each year he has this project and they wanted something with hunger. We had this massive expanse with this new building, so we said let’s get these kids’ ideas out.”

The Writers Matter program currently serves more than 900 students in 12 schools across Philadelphia. Completing the banner allowed the students to express their feelings on starvation and hunger in surrounding communities.

“The Writers Matter program believes in empowerment — specifically through the process of writing. Through improving writing skills of our students we empower our students to use their inner voice to express themselves,” Vogel said.

The ceremony opened with several of the students who participated in the program painting a ribbon that would complement the banner on the 400 block Pattison Avenue. Councilman at-large Bill Green also made an appearance to support the hunger relief efforts.

Philabundance, which has been in South Philadelphia since 1998, began operations in the new Hunger Relief Center in June 2010. The center supplies food for nine surrounding counties in the Delaware Valley and just last year donated 21 million pounds of food. With 60 full-time employees and 15,000 volunteers a year, Philabundance is firmly entrenched in South Philadelphia.

“We are very proud to be citizens of South Philadelphia. It’s important to get a mural down here, especially with all the stadium traffic.” Clark said. “This seemed a natural way to raise awareness.” SPR

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