I hope this update finds you healthy and safe. As you know, our region continues to feel the widespread effects of COVID-19, and Philabundance continues to provide food for neighbors in need, safely and efficiently. Thanks to your generous support, we’re able to act quickly to serve a growing number of community members in new and innovative ways. You are receiving this regular update because you have answered the call to help, and we want you to be informed about the steps Philabundance is taking to respond to this crisis.
Philabundance is proud to act as a critical link between growers and distributors with excess food product and the people who need it most. Unfortunately, this crisis has exposed weak spots in the supply chain: a reduced workforce means fruits and vegetables aren’t being harvested, social distancing and new safety measures in processing plants have led to slower production times, and mass closures of restaurants, schools, and other venues have created an imbalance in demand.
With the support of most generous donors like you, we’re working with local and national partners to tackle these problems and distribute more food than ever:
• Philabundance is participating in the USDA’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP). The program provides immediate relief for farmers and ranchers, while enabling the purchase and distribution of food surplus to help community members in need. This new program allows us to take advantage of food that might otherwise gone to waste, supplying an additional 2.7 million pounds of food each month (a nearly three-fold increase in monthly distribution) to our neighbors in need.
• Next week, we will start a temporary, large-scale, drive-through food distribution at Citizens Bank Park. This effort will take place weekly over the next six weeks and will serve 1,600 families per distribution. This minimum contact distribution will allow us to provide families with far more food than they can receive at a walk-in distribution.
• The simultaneous increase in the demand for emergency food and decrease in food donations has caused our food purchasing budget to balloon. Over the next five months, we anticipate having to quadruple our original food purchasing budget in order to close this gap. Additionally, the COVID-19 crisis has exposed an enormous need for baby formula, and we are actively working to raise $175,000 to purchase baby formula that the City of Philadelphia will then distribute through identified sites through August. Continued funding for these food purchasing programs will be vital as we work to ensure that our agencies and clients continue to receive a variety of healthy products.
Throughout this crisis, the continued support of our loyal donors—and the urgent response of so many first-time donors—have given us the resources to help even more families and individuals put food on their tables. Your contributions make a difference in the lives of real people. You can view photos from our recent distribution at Klein Life in Northeast Philadelphia to see the impact you’re having already.
We were so pleased so many of you were able to join us for last week’s virtual Town Hall that focused on how we source food in a disrupted food supply. Your feedback is key as we work together to solve issues that impact the health and well-being of our communities. Please feel free to share an online recording of the town hall – simply copy this link. Our next Town Hall will be on Wed., May 27.
As we face these unfamiliar and challenging times together, I speak for our entire team at Philabundance when I say that we are incredibly grateful to you. For additional information, or to find out more about how to get involved, please visit our COVID-19 Resources and Information page.
May your plate always be full,
Chief Development Officer