PHILADELPHIA (May 26, 2017) – Too many individuals – nearly 750,00 in our region alone – lack access to affordable, healthy food and don’t know where their next meal will come from.
On June 1, more than 500 corporate and community volunteers will join United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey (UWGPSNJ), Chef Christine Hazel and SHARE Food Program (SHARE) to take a stand against hunger in our communities during the sixth annual United2Feed event at Valley Forge Casino Resort. The event will provide 120,000 meals for 32,000 individuals and families in the region.
“More and more families, especially in those communities affected by business closures and poor economic conditions, struggle with hunger and increasingly rely on food pantries to stretch their dollars and put food on the table,” said Jim Cawley, president and CEO of UWGPSNJ. “We all face difficult situations in life, but feeding your family should never be one of them. We LIVE UNITED against hunger because we know a child can’t perform well in school when hungry and working families still need help putting nutritious food on their tables.”
Studies show that food insecurity affects every county in the U.S. and its long-term effects limit children and trap families in the cycle of poverty for generations. Students from food insecure homes often have lower test scores, more behavioral and emotional problems and are more likely to experience difficulties in school. As a result, these students are less likely to graduate, attend college or find a job. In addition, adult workers who are hungry are less focused and accurate and struggle with productivity, making it difficult to progress in a career and trapping them – and their families – in poverty.
According to Steveanna Wynn, executive director of the SHARE, the issue of hunger worsens during the summer. “Countless individuals struggle to put food on the table every day. We receive calls all the time from parents, and it’s especially difficult for a mom and dad not to be able to give their children what they need,” Wynn said. “Hunger doesn’t take a vacation. Those same parents struggle even more during the summer, when school is out of session and their children don’t have access to free and reduced lunches – meals that, too often, are the only reliable meals students get. As a result, children throughout our region face a summer of hunger.”
Through United2Feed, UWGPSNJ, SHARE Food Program and corporate volunteers will pack enough food to feed 8,000 families of four with three meals a day for five days. Food boxes are distributed to more than 1,300 food pantries and cupboards throughout greater Philadelphia and southern New Jersey.
“When you’re hungry it’s hard to thrive – in the classroom or in the workplace,” said Chef Christine Hazel, United2Feed Cause Champion. “That’s why I’m proud to team up with United Way for United2Feed to help tackle our region’s hunger crisis and support stronger, healthier communities for this generation and the next. We can’t end hunger in one day, but each of us can make a difference by getting involved and giving back.”
Community members interested in Living United against hunger can visit Volunteer.UnitedForImpact.org to find local volunteer opportunities with United2Feed food partners.
United2Feed is made possible by managing partner SHARE Food Program, food partners including Chester County Food Bank, Community Food Bank of New Jersey, Food Bank of South Jersey, Philabundance, Family & Community Services of Delaware County and CADCOM, as well as sponsors including AmeriHealth Caritas, Amerisource Bergen Corporation, Aqua America, Inc., Arkema, Beneficial Bank, Bimbo Bakeries USA, Conestoga Student United Way, CSL Behring, Dow Chemical Company, Dunwoody Village, Enterprise Holdings, Houghton International Inc., Independence Blue Cross, Jako Enterprises, Kimberly-Clarke Chester Mill, UGI Corporate/AmeriGas, UPS Chesapeake District, Valley Forge Casino Resort and Wegmans Food Markets.