Friday, November 22, 2013

Spotlight on Hunger: WYCD Interviews Philabundance of Philadelphia, PA.

This holiday season, What You Can Do is teaming up with Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen to help raise awareness and fight hunger in New York City.  As 1 in every 5 New Yorkers face hunger, Holy Apostles plays a crucial role in providing food, support and hope to people in need.  

The What You Can Do team is based in New York, so we have the opportunity to collaborate with many organizations inspiring change throughout our city.  Since fans watch What You Can Do from around the world, we thought this holiday season would be a good time to highlight different perspectives on hunger.  As a nation over 49 million Americans are facing hunger today, with over 15 million of that number being children.   We interviewed representatives from food banks and hunger organizations across the country and in Canada, asking about involvement in their communities, services they offer, trends they are seeing in their communities etc. 

We will first spotlight Philabundance, a hunger relief organization based out of Philadelphia, PA and servicing the Delaware Valley.  

An interview with Lindsey Bues, Public Relations Coordinator for Philabundance in Philadelphia.

WYCD:  Please tell us a little about your organization and the community that you serve.

Philabundance reduces hunger and food insecurity in the Delaware Valley by providing food access to people in need in partnership with organizations and individuals. As the Delaware Valley’s largest hunger relief organization, Philabundance provides a full plate of services to 72,000 people each week through neighborhood distribution programs and a network of close to 500 member food pantries, shelters and emergency kitchens in 9 counties.

WYCD:  How long have you been in operation?

Philabundance has been operating since 1984 - 2014 will be our 30th anniversary.

WYCD:  What types of services do you provide to your community?

Philabundance works to provide our neighbors with access to nutritious foods. We do that through a network of close to 500 partner food pantries, shelters and emergency kitchens. We also provide access to food through our direct neighborhood distribution programs like Fresh For All and KidsBites.

Fresh For All is like a traveling farmers market providing free fresh produce to people who need it most. We have 10 locations that set up on the same day at the same time every week. Fresh For All provides about 7 pounds of produce to approximately 200 households at each site. In 2012, the program distributed 2.2 million pounds of produce.

KidsBites was launched to ensure that kids across the Delaware Valley have the food they need to thrive and grow. Philabundance partners with local elementary schools to provide nutritious food staples to kids and their families every month.

WYCD:  If you offer a variety of services, which ones are the most popular and why do you think that is?

Philabundance and our partners are seeing more people than ever before come to us for food. There are 900,000 people at risk of hunger in the Delaware Valley. All of our programs and all of our partner food pantries, emergency kitchens and shelters are all feeling the strain. SNAP/Food stamp program was cut across the board on November 1 which has put an even greater strain on the charitable food network.

WYCD:  Have the overall numbers of visitors changed in the last few years?

We have experienced a 98% increase in need over the last three years.

WYCD:  Has the demographic of your visitors changed over the last several years?
(Are you seeing an increase in certain age groups, races, economic status, genders or the marital status of people needing your services?)

Over the last few years we have seen the face of hunger change. It is no longer just in the inner city or in rural areas; it touches every single zip code in the Delaware Valley. There are people who used to give to us who are now benefitting from our services.

WYCD:  What are the most prevalent issues in your community, and do you feel that this reflects the current trends around the Philadelphia region?

Food insecurity is a major issue across the country, let alone across the Philadelphia region. There are 900,000 people in the Delaware Valley at risk of hunger and we work every day to make sure those people have a place to get the food they need and to prevent them from falling through the holes in the hunger safety net.

WYCD:  If you have volunteers, are you finding more people involved in helping out, and does it fluctuate throughout the year?

We tend to see an increase in volunteers around the holidays but we have 17,000 volunteers who come through our doors each year who help us sort and pack all of the food that comes in as well as people who volunteer at our direct neighborhood distribution service. We couldn’t do what we do without their support.

WYCD:  Do you have special requests for the types of food/meals that you provide?

We try to focus on providing foods that are nutritious. About 32% of the food we distributed in Fiscal Year 2013 (which runs from Oct 1 to Sept 30) was produce.

WYCD:  What are easy ways that your community can help out your organization even if they only have one minute of time to give? What if they have one hour to give?

Philabundance can provide two meals for every dollar donated. By logging on to and making a donation, you will be making a huge difference in the lives of so many people in the region who can’t afford to buy enough food to feed their families.

Those who may have a little more than a minute can hold a food drive or event or sign up to volunteer. For more information, please visit or call 215-339-0900.

Many thanks to the Philabundance team for sharing their insight on hunger in the Delaware Valley region with us. With hunger rising in the Philadelphia area and across the country in recent years, their team inspires us with the power of collaboration to help solve hunger and other problems in our communities.  If you want to learn more about their work, you can visit the Philabundance website at:

If you want to learn more about Holy Apostles in New York City, you can visit their website at:

To join What You Can Do in the mission to help change the world, one minute at a time,
please visit us at:

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