Philabundance Community Kitchen finally gets a home of its own

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.

This article is part of Broke in Philly, a collaborative reporting project among more than 20 news organizations, focused on economic mobility in Philadelphia. Read all of our reporting at brokeinphilly.org

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Philabundance Opens Community Kitchen Offering Adults Culinary Training and Life Skills

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) — Governor Tom Wolf and First Lady Frances Wolf helped cut the ribbon on a brand new Philabundance Community Kitchen in North Philadelphia on Tuesday.

PCK is a 16-week culinary training and life skills program providing opportunities to adults with little to no income who need not just a job, but a second chance at life.

PCK promotes the self-sufficiency of its students by preparing them for and connecting them to work in the food service industry and allows them to give back by preparing meals for those in need.

“In a year that has contained a great deal of hardship, it is wonderful to have the opportunity to celebrate a new beginning,” said Governor Wolf. “Nothing could be more appropriate than celebrating with the Philabundance community. Philabundance has remained a steadfast partner in my administration’s commitment to ensuring that every Pennsylvanian has access to plentiful, nutritious food.”

The 20,000 square foot facility includes classrooms for life skills education and a commercial kitchen where participants will learn valuable culinary arts skills.

Since 2000, PCK has graduated more than 920 students. This is PCK’s first location in its 20-year history that is not shared with another organization or company.

PCK also has its own catering program that helps fund programming, and they provide food to homeless shelters around the city.

“It’s a culinary arts workforce development program that helps teach culinary arts and life skills and then helps employ folks that may have had trouble getting employment in the past,” said Melanie Cataldi, Philabundance Chief Impact Officer. “And we follow them for a minimum of two years to make sure they have whatever they need to stay employed. So it’s really a transformational program.”

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