Expanding to reduce hunger in Philadelphia

on 15 August 2017

By Emily Wysock
Did you know one in four Philadelphians are food insecure and run out of food as well as money to buy food each month? One third of hungry Philadelphians are children. Our food pantry in Frankford sees that half of the households there don’t have enough money to buy food. And seeing that 40% of the children in Southwest Philadelphia are living in poverty, we are now partnering with Tilden Middle School to open a second pantry. 

For the past twenty years, Turning Points for Children has offered emergency food assistance to the families we serve. In 2012, the Food and Wellness Network (FAWN) was created to expand that assistance to the broader community. Since then our hunger relief efforts have quadrupled, now reaching over 4,000 unduplicated households. 

FAWN has been running a community-based pantry in Frankford serving families where we provide child protective services (CUA3). Our choice-model pantry is set up like a small grocery store and families can select the fresh fruits and vegetables, frozen meats, dairy, and grains that fit their needs. We’ve been able to provide resources to over 1,500 households each year. 

We are thrilled to pilot a new pantry site at Tilden Middle School to provide food and wellness resources to families in Southwest Philadelphia, where we provide child protective services (CUA9).  

Tilden is one of the nine schools selected as a Community School this year through the Mayor’s Office of Education. As a Community School, Tilden is working to bring services and programs to the school based on the needs of students, families, and the surrounding community.  Nearly 40% of children in Southwest Philadelphia are living in poverty and over 20% are considered obese. Every student at Tilden is considered economically disadvantaged. 

In the first year, the pantry will be open 2 days a week and by the second year the pantry will be open 4 days a week. Share and Philabundance have both pledged support to FAWN to implement the new location.

Unlike many other food programs, FAWN maintains electronic records to capture general demographic data and track each family’s service history. FAWN uses that data and our client surveys to more effectively predict service needs and better understand the population served. 

Volunteers are core to the program’s success, since the pantry works with only two full-time and one part-time employee. 

We are only able to serve more families because of our dedicated volunteers and generous donors. Thanks to IBX Foundation, BNY Mellon, PHMC Public Health Fund, Morgan Stanley Foundation, WW Smith, Pierce Family, Target, and Philabundance we can expand our services. 

Your Turning Points team is working to reduce hunger food insecurity for our most vulnerable in Philadelphia: children. This work only happens because of you. We hope you’ll come visit our sites in Frankford and in Southwest Philadelphia.