We are proud to partner with Wellspring Living and The Make It Zero campaign in the fight against child-sex trafficking. We would also like to thank MELT for spearheading this effort. From Atlanta to Africa, poverty is a reality for too many people. We are also proud to work with Fresh For All and Philabundance in helping to spread awareness that hunger is still a problem in our world today, but it does not have to be. Check out their website to see how you can help stop hunger, in Pennsylvania and around the world.
My name is Jess, and I work at the largest hunger relief organization in the Greater Philadelphia region, Philabundance. Philabundance was created in 1984 and its mission is to drive hunger from our communities today and ultimately ending hunger forever. There are three quarters of a million people in our 9-county service area within New Jersey and Pennsylvania who face hunger every day.
I moved to Philadelphia from the Poconos in 2005 to attend Temple University, where I majored in Urban and Environmental studies. In college, I interned for the Farmers Market Program at non-profit The Food Trust, where I realized I wanted to pursue a career in the nonprofit world, specifically related to food. Upon graduation I landed the Fresh For All Coordinator position at Philabundance and in 2010 was promoted to FFA manager!
Fresh For All (FFA), one of Philabundance’s programs, is similar to a traveling farmers market which is set up at the same location every week at the same time so local residents can rely on the availability of food, specifically fresh produce, vegetables and fruit. In 2015, FFA distributed over 1.2 million pounds of food and served more than 6,000 households in PA and NJ.
Volunteers are integral in the success of our day to day operations and their hard work cannot be praised enough. One volunteer in particular, Genevieve, has always stuck with me. Genevieve is 63 years old and was laid off from her retail job. To help make ends meet, she volunteered every week (rain or shine, year-round!) and also received a portion of her weekly fruits and vegetables from us.
It inspires me that folks in the community who may not be able to give financially are willing to give so much in other ways. Because of FFA, Genevieve was able to receive food from the program as well as enrich her community through her volunteer work. She eventually discontinued her service to Philabundance to attend a culinary training program and is now employed as a cook at one of our member agencies.
The first time I went out to one of the eight Fresh For All locations, I was taken aback by the number of people in need of our services. It is one thing to try to understand the income disparity and need in our region on a conceptual level, but to see it in action was an eye-opener. It makes coming to work a lot easier each day knowing that the work we do is helping to relieve the burden of food insecurity in our area.
We have begun to serve a large number of immigrant populations including Asian and South Asian communities. We are currently working on providing our materials in additional languages to be able to serve all clients with dignity and respect.
FFA offers volunteer opportunities allowing a hands-on and interactive experience with communities benefiting from the program. Volunteers are needed to help set up and distribute produce, among other tasks.
If you are interested in volunteering for Fresh For All or are bi-lingual and speak Cantonese, Mandarin or Spanish, and would like to use your skills translating for clients at our Fresh For All distribution sites, email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on how to get involved. Or if you’re in need of food, visit our website at www.philabundance.org for more information about FFA sites, or for the food hotline.