During COVID and at the height of lockdown, we at Feast of Justice went from 285 households a week to 1500. We serve about 825 households a week now, and it’s been settled there for the past few months. But it’s possible that will go back up again as more businesses close this winter.
Of course, we had to move everything outside our building, so people don’t come inside. We had a gathering space for community meals, a kid’s area, counseling areas and a little office space – all in one 2,000 square foot room. Now, it’s a warehouse used as a storage and prep space for our food. The church that we rent space from has also given us an additional classroom to help with our food operations since they’re not using it right now.
For the last several years, we’ve been giving out just shy of 500,000 pounds of food in a year. Since COVID began, we’ve provided about 1.2 million pounds of food. It’s been insane. We are operating at a frenetic pace most of the time, and it’s been amazing to watch it. It’s also been astonishing to see the number of people in line who are new to us.
During a pandemic when so many people rely on food cupboards, we’ve increased our fresh food output – produce, dairy, and meat. It’s been very satisfying to be able to offer that because we want our guests to have access to food items that aren’t just empty calories. Philabundance has increased the amount of produce we can offer. We’re now receiving 6,500 pounds of fresh produce weekly to give out to the community.
Executive Director, Feast of Justice