The Transition Network

TTN Women in the Community

Fighting Hunger in Philadelphia

(Posted February 5, 2021)

Anchored in the belief that pooling our giving dollars to support an agreed upon cause  multiplies the impact of each dollar given, in 2020 the TTN Philadelphia Giving Circle voted to address food insecurity by awarding its grant of $20,000 to Urban Tree Connection (UTC).  UTC is a local nonprofit devoted to combating food insecurity and diet-related illnesses faced by residents of Philadelphia’s Haddington neighborhood, one of the city’s poorest neighborhoods.
 
“Hunger is a crisis less visible than some others you may see on the city’s streets, but it is a pandemic exacerbated by the economic impact of COVID.  The Giving Circle is proud to support Urban Tree Connection and its sustainability approach to this crisis.” - Carol Cunningham, Chair, TTN Philadelphia Giving Circle
 
Nationwide, about 12% of people are food insecure (lacking enough food in a year to lead a healthy life), according to data from Feeding America. In Philadelphia, that percentage is 21% and runs as high as 30% in certain of the city’s neighborhoods.1 Philadelphia faces a massive hunger problem, one that continues to increase with the negative consequences of COVID-19. 
 
Urban Tree Connection aims to cultivate community leadership, improve community health, and to develop a local, sustainable, and equitable food system.  It does this by working with its neighborhood residents to develop community-driven greening and gardening projects on vacant land, and by distributing food through Community Subsidized Agriculture (CSA) shares and its local food stand. The pandemic has increased food requests and upended many of its operations, including food distribution. This is where the Giving Circle grant helped.
 
Pivoting to ensure food access while residents complied with COVID, safer-at-home, measures UTC devised a Block Captain system to distribute the food shares hands-free to neighbors in the program.  To protect farm workers, UTC staggered shifts and equipped stations for masks and cleaning products. Finally, food with a longer shelf life will be grown and free initial CSA shares offered to encourage participation. The Giving Circle grant helped underwrite UTC’s Free Food Share Program and the distribution of over 4,000 pounds of free food to 122 families throughout the season.
 
"[The Free Food Distribution Program]....it was an awesome collaboration. The food was fresh. Our block is excited to receive produce boxes next season. It was interesting and fun every week to hand out the boxes to my neighbors. I know it helped them. Also, the educational flyers in the boxes were super helpful to learn about the different vegetables and everything." - Criss & Nora, UTC Block Captain and her daughter
 
The Giving Circle wanted to do more ... it was critical to increase the sense of urgency around Philadelphia’s escalating hunger and let our TTN community know how to help.  We convened Food Access To Food Equity – a panel of experts from five nonprofits, including UTC, for a ZOOM  discussion focusing on a systemic look at hunger and poverty in historically marginalized communities.  Over 70 women participated in the dialogue and defined their own personal plans based on a ‘call-to-action’ from the nonprofits.
 
Motivated by passion to improve the lives of women and children in Philadelphia, Giving Circle members live TTN’s core values by –  CONNECTing women dedicated to making a difference in Philadelphia, DISCOVERing the needs of underserved women and children and the nonprofits who work tirelessly to help them, and positively IMPACTing their possibilities and circumstances. With gratitude for the generosity of our members, in 2021, the Giving Circle will be awarding two grants of $25,000 each.  This is truly The Power of Collective Giving.
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1Philabundance, https://www.philabundance.org/hunger-in-philly-its-a-pain-in-my-belly/; accessed 21-JAN2021




 

Material from www.thetransitionnetwork.org, 21:46:45 November 29, 2021.
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