I arrived in Philadelphia six months ago, displaced from my beloved Chicago, to work as an Americorps Vista. Although I have many qualms with this city (dirty streets, lack of appreciation for professional basketball, etc.,) I have been overwhelmingly surprised by the sense of community in Philadelphia.
Much of my appreciation for Philadelphia’s community comes from the volunteers that I work with at Philabundance’s Community Food Center. The CFC is located at 6th and Lehigh in Philadelphia’s Kensington neighborhood. We are a choice food pantry that delivers 20,000 pounds of food a week to registered shoppers. We work out of 1,000 sq/ft space with four permanent staff members. We deal with fluctuations in product, transportation, and equipment and constantly work to serve more families. We succeed for one reason:
We have amazing volunteers!
Our volunteers come from a wide range of socio-economic backgrounds and various Philadelphia communities. However, all of our volunteers work diligently to support their city and the fight against hunger. Many volunteers work multiple shifts a week to support not only Philabundance but, really, their fellow Philadelphians.
Thus was the case with Jeff. Jeff volunteered three mornings a week and has been the rock of our morning volunteer program since the CFC opened. He braved rain, snow, and pesky parking to help us bring in our daily shipments. He came in on short notice and went out of his way to support our operations.
His last week ended recently. Although we are going to miss him terribly, we all appreciate the work he did and are happy that he is moving on. It took people like Jeff to make me realize what makes this city “beet”. The people here, especially the Community Food Center’s Volunteers, are amazing.
I hope Jeff and our Community Food Center volunteers at large inspire you to take part in the fight against hunger. If you’re interested in joining us at the CFC or taking part in any other volunteer opportunities, reach out to us– we’d love to have you!