President Joe Biden returned for the third time to Philabundance on MLK Day of Service to recognize hunger in America and the how it affects the health and wellbeing of individuals and families, especially children. President Biden first volunteered at Philabundance in 2021 on MLK Day two days before the President’s inauguration and the President and First Lady returned in 2022 to demonstrate their ongoing commitment to raise awareness about the need to end hunger in the US.
The President was joined by Philabundance Chief Executive Officer Loree Jones Brown, Philadelphia Mayor Cherelle Parker, AmeriCorps Chief Executive Officer Michael D. Smith, AmeriCorps Board of Directors Catherine McLaughlin, Regional President, Jefferson Health and Philabundance Board of Directors Chairperson Dixie James, and AmeriCorps youth volunteers.
“I am incredibly honored that President Biden has chosen to volunteer with us on MLK Day for the third time,” says Philabundance CEO, Loree Jones Brown. “This momentous occasion not only pays homage to the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., but also signifies the importance of community engagement and service. President Biden’s participation exemplifies his Administration’s commitment and dedication to addressing hunger and advocating for change.”
President Biden and volunteers highlighted the power of youth engaged in service, packing boxes of family meal kits that will be distributed to people experiencing hunger across the region. Each family meal kit consisted of fresh produce and additional items to create a complete family meal. The boxes also included snacks tailored for children, such as apples and granola bars. The President’s presence not only boosted morale but also created a sense of unity and purpose among the volunteers.
“I was proud to participate in the King Day of Service event today at Philabundance with President Biden and so many others,” said Mayor Cherelle L. Parker. “Food insecurity is a real issue in Philadelphia and across our region, and anything that we can do, working together, to highlight the importance of addressing it is a worthy endeavor. It was my privilege to join CEO Loree Jones, their team, and our President today.”
According to Philabundance partner Feeding America, more than 13 million children in the U.S. – 1 in 5 – faced hunger in 2022. This is a 44% increase from the prior year and the highest rate of child food insecurity in nearly a decade. The high cost of living coupled with Congress’ rollback of pandemic era assistance programs contribute to this rise in hunger we see today. The President’s visit signals that hunger – especially child nutrition and health – is a top priority.
“We are deeply grateful for President Biden’s commitment to eradicating hunger and his dedication to fostering a spirit of volunteerism in our nation,” says Regional President of Jefferson Health and Philabundance Board of Directors Chairperson Dixie James.” “His presence at Philabundance on this significant day not only amplifies the importance of addressing food insecurity, but also motivates and inspires us to continue our mission of providing nourishment and hope to those in need.”
President Biden’s visit today also comes on the heels of the USDA’s exceptional implementation of the new Summer EBT program. Thanks to President Biden’s administration’s resolute action, over 20 million kids nationwide will have a total of $2.5 billion in food purchasing power this summer, combatting the rise in child hunger when school is out.