Representative Donna Bullock Visits Philabundance Community Kitchen
Standing in a hallway stacked with 28-ounce cans of yams and crushed tomatoes at Philabundance Community Kitchen (PCK), State Representative Donna Bullock, D-Phila., whose district is home to PCK, shared that at one point she was on the other side of a soup kitchen.
PCK promotes the self-sufficiency of low-income adults through culinary arts while also supplying critically needed meals to agencies and area emergency kitchens, like the ones Rep. Bullock attended as a child. She recalls shuffling across town with her mother and grandmother to get food from soup kitchens and food pantries; in an effort to provide for the family on a consistent basis, her mom kept a small, handwritten calendar in the house to note days and hours of nearby food resources. They also received monthly food packages from fellow hunger-fighting organization, SHARE Food Program.
“I was all too familiar with soup kitchens,” says Rep. Bullock, “But if that’s where you’re breaking bread then that’s your family. I got so much more than a meal – I also got mentors, new ‘family’ and friends.”
A self-described precocious little girl, she easily made acquaintance with other kids and clients at the soup kitchen, as well as volunteers since she donated her own time in an effort to give back to the very place from which her family received food assistance.
Today, a Temple alumna, lawyer and first-year state representative, Rep. Bullock uses her personal experience with hunger as motivation to advocate for social change. She also continues to watch her church’s tiny soup kitchen expand; in the late 1990s, it merged with two other area churches to form Elijah’s Promise, which offers a culinary arts program similar to PCK along with its own café and catering business.
Intrigued by the great work being done for people facing hunger in her own district, Rep. Bullock toured PCK and spoke with students to learn more. Before leaving, she shared a PCK-cooked meal with staff, offering words of encouragement to the current class:
“You took the hardest step already—being here,” says Rep. Bullock. “Everything else gets easier.”