One out of every eight households in Pennsylvania does not have the resources to put adequate food on the table, a problem only compounded by the economic downturn. In the Delaware Valley region that includes Philadelphia, there are 900,000 people at risk for hunger.
That’s where Philabundance comes in. Established in 1984, Philabundance – the Philadelphia region’s largest food bank and hunger relief organization – works to ensure that families who need it most have access to food. Philabundance and its partners work with the food industry, farms, and manufacturers to provide food for roughly 65,000 people each week.
Philabundance operates two centrally located warehouses and a fleet of 13 trucks, which stay on the road six days a week. But with the tough economy creating additional demand for its services, Philabundance’s impact was constrained by a lack of refrigerated storage space and food sorting equipment.
Bank of America had supported Philabundance since 2005, both through grants and thousands of employee volunteer hours. But in 2011, Bank of America significantly increased its support for Philabundance. Through its Neighborhood Builder program, which provides community organizations with funding and leadership training, Bank of America provided Philabundance with a two-year, $200,000 grant.
“Bank of America’s support through both critical funding and employee volunteer efforts have a tremendous impact on Philabundance’s ability to combat hunger in the Philadelphia region,” said Bill Clark, president and executive director of Philabundance. “In 2011 alone, over 1,000 Bank of America employees have helped sort and pack approximately 15 million pounds of food for almost 500 neighborhoods agencies that serve low-income families in the greater Philadelphia area.”
With the support from Bank of America, Philabundance was able to more than double the warehouse space it kept under refrigeration from less than 3,000 square feet to roughly 6,500 square feet. It was also able to add an automated conveyor system for sorting both produce and meat.
Making efficient use of resources is essential for a food bank like Philabundance to help as many people in need as possible. Astonishingly, more than a quarter of all food in the United States goes to waste. With better storage and sorting ability, Philabundance is able to ensure that more food winds up on the plate instead of in the landfill.
“During these difficult economic times, we know that the challenges facing our communities are significant,” said Tom Woodward, Bank of America Philadelphia market president. “By partnering with great organizations like Philabundance, we are able to address critical issues such as hunger and food insecurity to help create positive change for members of our local community and our economy.”
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