American Heart Association & Community Partners Respond to Food Insecurity in Philadelphia Caused by COVID-19 Crisis

COVID-19 has created an unprecedented need for emergency food relief and the American Heart Association Philadelphia is working with local community partners to quickly assess and address the needs of the city’s most vulnerable populations. While many food pantries have meal service support from food providers, many sites lack the infrastructure (i.e. freezers) to store extra meals.

The American Heart Association Philadelphia is providing freezers to 10 food pantry locations serving community members, increasing access to healthy meals during the coronavirus crisis and beyond. This effort supports Caring for Friends’ largest food service program that delivers volunteer-prepared meals to seniors, disabled, and other isolated homebound persons within Philadelphia’s five-county region.

Select food pantries located in Philadelphia’s Belmont, Fairhill, Hunting Park, and Sharswood neighborhoods, and the city of Chester will be supported through this effort.

Due to the city’s current stay-at-home order, residents are unable to visit the pantry as frequently as in previous times. The donation of freezers allows food pantries to store food for longer periods of time between visits. AHA Philadelphia’s contribution extends the capability of food pantries to provide an additional 6,000 healthy meals per month through the Caring for Friends program.

“During the coronavirus pandemic, every single faith organization and community pantry is receiving double the usual asks for help,” said Jeannette Fournier, executive director of Caring for Friends. “We’re now able to meet those demands only because of our friends in the nonprofit world like American Heart Association Philadelphia.”

“In times like these, our mission ‘to be a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives’ couldn’t be more critical,” said Jennifer Davis, executive director for American Heart Association Philadelphia. “Our local priority is to swiftly and significantly support our most vulnerable Philadelphians, ensuring they have access to food and access to care – both which are at a heightened state of need today.”