Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Self-Fulfilling Prophecy of Philabundance

September is Hunger Action Month. Each week, Food Fighters will be posting features on some of the amazing organizations around the country fighting to make sure all Americans have access to fresh, healthy food. To learn more about, Hunger Action Month or how you can volunteer in your neighborhood, visit the Feeding America website or follow them on Twitter @FeedingAmerica or #HungerActionMonth.

You're smart. I know you're smart. But, I'm still going to call the "Driving Hunger From Our Communities" phrase to your attention. It's on a truck. Get it? Driving...truck. Love the clever.
I'm a little obsessed with Philabundance. Not only do they have one of the catchiest names in all of hunger relief, but they abound with positivity. Certainly, hunger is not something that brings a smile to anyone's face. However, many recipients at food banks often feel a certain stigma in participation. Philabundance works hard to create community and a sense of hope that I, and many of their clients and patrons, can certainly appreciate.  Even their colorful graphics and catchy T-shirts help raise spirits in what can be a bleak and desperate situation. Based on the individuals I communicated with and met for my visit, I can say this optimistic vibe pulsates among the staff. Couple that with a variety of innovative programs (listed below), and I think you'll see why I'm crushing on this organization and their vision of Philly Abundance for all.

A Philabundance T-shirt. Order one here.
Philabundance has existed in the greater Philadelphia, PA area since 1984. In 2005, it was integrated with the Philadelphia Food Bank and now provides direct service programs with over 500 member agencies.  Some of their innovative programs include:

A Philabundance Fresh for All site

  • Fresh For All: Started in response to the expressed desire and need for more fresh produce in low income areas, this program operates at 12 different sites: 6 in New Jersey and 6 in Pennsylvania. Each site practices reliability and consistency in that each is year-round (except for very inclement weather days) and allots produce based on expected numbers to ensure all participants receive a share each and every week. 
  • Share the Harvest: This sow-a-row initiative encourages local gardeners to grow a little extra and then donate their surplus to Philabundance.  Community organizations (such as churches and schools) can turn unused space into gardens that can be dedicated to helping others. Backyard gardeners can squeeze in a few extra plants to harvest for the program.
  • Innovative Volunteer Activities: Philabundance encourages community involvement (which in turn generates awareness which in turn leads to more resources...a fabulous cycle) through such events as "Macking and Packing"- a singles sorting night to pack boxes of nourishing food to be distributed at various sites. Afterwards, volunteers mingle at a happy hour.  (Sooo my kind of event!) Volunteers also staff tables at Fresh for All and share their tips and recipes for cooking the produce available.  Interaction amongst varying demographics is a big tenet of Philabundance.
  • Those are just a small taste of what Philabundance is doing in the greater Philly area.  They also have seniors programs, grocery donation campaigns, a job-training kitchen and numerous food drive incentive programs.  
Learn more about Philabundance by visiting here.  Or think about attending their half-day Hunger Symposium on Thursday, September 22.  I'll be there!

Also available on the Philabundance website.


  1. Oh my gosh - those are the coolest shirts (and a cool organization).

  2. These shirts are awesome. I was recently introduced to Philabundance through my lawyer, Frances S. Hallinan who is no fraud when it comes to charity. He has been giving to the organization for years. He helped me with my foreclosure, and I feel like the best way for me to say thank you is to give back to a charity that means, so much to him. I love these shirts, and I am going to look into purchasing them when I get paid next week. Thank you for this information!