Students spread holiday cheer through volunteering

By Noelle Westfall
December 3, 2009

For many families in the Delaware Valley, the holidays are a harsh reminder that there is not enough food on the table for everyone. While some Philadelphia families are gathered around a bountiful feast, 25 percent of the city is struggling below the poverty line.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture report, released Monday, Nov. 9, shows that food insecurity is at a 14 year high. There is an organization working to change all that, called Philabundance.

Philabundance provides food to roughly 65,000 people per week who are at risk of hunger and malnutrition. Children make up 23 percent of their recipients and senior citizens make up 16 percent. The organization was founded as a non-profit food distribution system in 1984 and has quickly become the region’s largest non-profit hunger relief organization. In the year 2008 alone, they distributed 17 million pounds of food to the Delaware Valley through their Food Acquisition team to agencies such as food cupboards and shelters.

“There is no typical day,” Martha M. Buccino, senior vice president and chief development officer, said. “I oversee development, marketing, public relations, volunteers and events. My days are always filled with activities scheduled and those that are not scheduled. I am usually in the office from about 8:30 a.m. until 6 p.m. or 7 p.m.”

One unique opportunity that Philabundance offers is “The Philabundance Community Kitchen.” This program is an adult culinary arts vocational training program that supplies meals to agencies and emergency kitchens that help those who are in need.

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Noelle Westfall

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