On Sept. 22, despite a pandemic that has ravaged the Philadelphia region’s health and economy, Philabundance took a major step forward in its efforts to serve the city’s most vulnerable and food insecure.
In addition to marking 20 years since its Philabundance Community Kitchen began, the organization cut the ribbon on a new home for the program alongside Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, First Lady of PA Frances Wolf and a number of Philadelphia officials, including PA state rep. Malcolm Kenyatta and City Council President Darrell Clarke.
For the last two decades, the community kitchen has both offered a free 14-week culinary arts and life skills training program to members of the surrounding community and provided hundreds of thousands of meals annually to shelters and help organizations throughout Philadelphia.
Thanks to the new, 20,000-foot, state-of-the-art facility located at 2224 N 10th Street near Temple University, the community kitchen will be able to extend its free program to 16 weeks, double the number of students trained, and estimates a quadrupling in the amount of meals it can produce and send across Philadelphia.
“In a year that has contained a great deal of hardship, it is wonderful to have the opportunity to celebrate a new beginning,” said Gov. Wolf.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Philabundance reported a 60% increase in hunger need throughout the Delaware Valley. It responded by having its community kitchen produce an additional 4,500 meals per week.
“We know that emergency feeding efforts are just one part of a comprehensive food security strategy, and proactive, empowering programs such as PCK truly help attack the issue of hunger right at its roots, with results stretching across generations,” said the First Lady of PA.
As for education, the free program offering culinary arts and life skills training has served over 920 students since starting and trains them for careers in the food industry.
The next courses are set to start on Jan. 11, 2021.
The location will also serve as a community space for the surrounding North Philadelphia community, featuring a number of meeting rooms for community members to utilize.