Amidst annual turkey giveaways, Philabundance continues daily grind of fighting hunger

Pat Loeb
November 21, 2018 - 8:30 pm

Pat Loeb | KYW Newsradio


PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) -- Thousands of volunteers have spent weeks making sure everyone has a happy Thanksgiving, even those with food insecurity. Pro athletes, politicians and everday Philadelphians collected and distributed meals. But for Philabundance, fighting hunger is a year-round job.

Three days before Thanksgiving, volunteers were packing boxes for seniors, not for the holiday but for the monthly Supplemental Food program.

"You're packing the non-fat milk," said community food program coordinator Vickie Rossi. "It's funny, the powdered milk is not quite as popular as the fluid milk, but we're trying to help them find different ways to do things with it."

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Rossi tucks recipes into each box so the low-income seniors who get them know what to do with the contents. But she says the biggest issue for them is the weight of it.

"It's 30 pounds," she said, "so some of them struggle with the ability to just get it to their homes."

Rossi was distressed by the report, last week, that the rate of hunger in Philadelphia increased from 2015 to 2017 while it went down, nationally. But she says it's a byproduct of the city's entrenched poverty problem, something she hopes Philabundance can help with.

"It's tough," she said, "and we're trying to do what we can to mitigate it and really find ways not just to feed the line, but shorten the line."