In uncertain and turbulent times, it’s inspiring to see our community come together to support our neighbors in need. This COVID-19 crisis is no exception, and we are adapting to the changes each week brings because of your support. We are grateful.
Not surprisingly, Philabundance is serving more households than ever. Food banks nationwide are experiencing a 70 percent increase in people seeking food assistance, and nearly 40 percent of individuals being served are first-time users of the charitable food system.
The consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic are pushing at-risk families in our communities deeper into food insecurity, and we’re feeding a surge of community members who have never had to turn to a food pantry before. “Unemployment and job loss has hit our community hard,” the pastor at Upper Darby Community Outreach told us. “Demand is only growing.’
Despite this pressure, our commitment to our mission—to drive hunger from our communities today and to end hunger for good—is stronger than ever. Largely thanks to your generous support, we’re able to adapt weekly, if not daily to respond to these challenges:
• We’re innovating and adapting our distribution models to comply with social distancing requirements; we’re moving outdoors, pre-packing food boxes, and providing drive-through and contactless pick-up
• Working closely with the City, we continue to distribute 16,000, 15-lb boxes of fresh fruits and vegetables across 40 sites at a cost of $80,000 per week
• We’re responding to an increased need throughout our entire nine-county service area, and increasing the frequency of our distributions to meet the needs of families in our suburban communities
• We continue to work with our many partners across the supply chain, including restaurants, farms, and retailers, to balance our inventory so we can continue to provide both quantity and variety of food to households
• Our Philabundance Community Kitchen (PCK) is preparing and distributing ready-to-eat meals for vulnerable Philadelphians while nearly doubling our meal production efforts with an additional 4,200 meals per week, including the newest effort, providing meals for a 40-person pop-up shelter in Kensington – nearly 9,000 meals per week are prepared in an 1,800 square-foot kitchen
We are humbled by the outpouring of generosity from those who believe deeply in our mission, including food industry supporters like The Giant Company, and corporate supporters like Black Rock Capital Management and Bank of America.
Finally, I’m delighted to share with you that this week our board announced the selection of Loree D. Jones as our next CEO. Jones, most recently the chief of staff to the chancellor of Rutgers University-Camden, has served in leadership positions in nonprofit organizations, education and city government throughout her career. Prior to her service at Rutgers, she was chief of external affairs for the School District of Philadelphia, coordinating strategic communications and governmental affairs for the nation’s eighth largest school district and managing advocacy efforts with external partners. She also served as managing director for the City of Philadelphia in the John Street administration.
Her extensive nonprofit experience includes serving as co-executive director of City Year Greater Philadelphia and as executive director of the African Studies Association (ASA), the largest scholarly association for the study of Africa in the world. We are excited to have Loree join us in June.
*Please save the date of May 13 for our next virtual Town Hall. Based on your input, we’ll be talking about how we’re sourcing food to meet increased demand. For additional information, or to find out more about how to get involved, please visit our COVID-19 Resources and Information page.
One thing is clear—combating this crisis wouldn’t be possible without you, our valued partners. We’re grateful for your continued commitment to the health and wellbeing of our community members, and we will continue to provide you with regular updates on our progress in the coming weeks.
May your plate always be full,
Chief Development Officer