Contact: Laura Cavender, firstname.lastname@example.org, (202) 415-9881
June 1, 2020, Philadelphia — Hundreds of immigrant children and families living in the Philadelphia region are facing a hunger crisis that is exacerbated even further by the COVID-19 pandemic.
A multi-organization partnership, loosely formed in April to address the crisis brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, is serving immigrant, refugee, and other underserved communities in Philadelphia by providing weekly boxes of fresh food and supplies for more than 600 families.
Working as part of a City of Philadelphia planning group serving families through the COVID-19 crisis, St. Christopher’s Foundation for Children helped to identify communities most in need and the organizations that serve them. Community partner organizations La Puerto Abierta, Sharswood Brewerytown Neighborhood Action Council, African Family Health Organization, and Radio Philly distribute the boxes to families in the city and surrounding suburbs.
The partnership came together due to a $30,000 grant from the PHL COVID-19 fund and is being managed in collaboration with Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Philadelphia Region. Each box, provided weekly, serves a family of four and contains approximately 15-20 lbs.
of vegetables and fruit, a dozen eggs and specialty items such as avocados, mangos, or jalapeños. A menagerie of partners donates essentials and spirit lifters. Cradles to Crayons is providing urgently needed diapers, the Marshall Family of Bryn Mawr is assembling learn-to-draw art kits to give restless kids and elders a creative outlet, and Health Partners Plans, a Philadelphia nonprofit HMO, sends their staff to deliver the weekly boxes and other add-on items.
“These partners enable us to provide food for thousands of people weekly during a time of extreme crisis for children and families with no social safety net,” said Jan Shaeffer, president of St. Christopher’s Foundation for Children. “In addition to sustenance, fresh food and home cooking provide important comfort during a time when there is so much uncertainty. The silver lining in all this – is the power and spirit of the many partners collaborating to ensure the fresh produce, supplies, and delivery get to those in need. Every box handed to a family is an example of love and kindness being shared.”
“We are serving immigrant families who are facing a severe food crisis and have no place to
turn,” said Cathi Tillman, LSW, executive director of La Puerta Abierta – The Open Door, which
typically provides access to services supporting mental health and well-being in the underserved Latinx community. “The food boxes provided by the St. Christopher’s Foundation for Children are vital to these families, and provide a sense of security and self-sufficiency to know that they can provide for their families. La Puerta Abierta – The Open Door is built around community connection, and these food boxes enable us to continue that connection and provide
support in different ways.”
“The Office of Immigrant Affairs [for the City of Philadelphia] is pleased that St. Christopher’s Foundation has taken the time to hear out the needs of various immigrant-serving groups and worked carefully to form a respectful partnership that allows these groups to continue supporting so many families that are in real need of food,” said Amy Eusebio, Director of the Office of
Immigrant Affairs for the City of Philadelphia. “The City has worked hard with the School District and various partners to expand food access to all families in our city. In an attempt to better resource immigrant-serving groups that have initiated food delivery programs in the midst of the current crisis, we are glad that St. Christopher’s Foundation has offered to meet this
need and hopeful of the ability for these partnerships to grow.”
“We are glad we were able to repurpose our resources to help the community during this crisis,” said Susan Campbell, CEO of RMHC of the Philadelphia Region. “As we limited the number of guests at our Ronald McDonald House in North Philadelphia, we had space to box up food provided by SCFC and vehicles available to deliver it to local organizations serving families in
need. Our food service program is one of the most valuable services we provide to our guests
and this project with SCFC directly aligned with our commitment to supporting the basic needs
In addition, the partnership has been extended through a USDA grant to Lancaster Farm Fresh Co-op, which is a partner of SCFC’s Farm to Families program. Lancaster Farm Fresh is providing 600 boxes of local, organic produce per week, which allows the program to extend for another six weeks.
About St. Christopher’s Foundation for Children (SCFC)
The mission of St. Christopher’s Foundation for Children (SCFC) is to support the health and well-being of children and their families in the community served by St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children through programs in the areas of care, outreach, research and education.
For more information about St. Christopher’s Foundation for Children, please visit: https://www.scfchildren.org
About the PHL COVID-19 Fund
The PHL COVID-19 Fund provides grants to nonprofits throughout the Greater Philadelphia region that have a demonstrated track record of serving those most at-risk during this crisis, such as seniors, people with disabilities, and those who are experiencing homeless or who are economically disadvantaged. Grants will be used to continue community safety nets including food pantries and health services; help with preparedness and protection needs such as hygiene supplies; and ensure access to accurate, up-to-date information and available services. The Fund brings together a diverse coalition of philanthropy, government and business partners, all joined together as one unified regional community to create a regional rapid response fund to support nonprofits at the frontline of COVID response. The Fund complements the work
of regional public health officials and expands local capacity to address the outbreak as efficiently as possible.
About Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Philadelphia Region (RMHC)
Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Philadelphia Region supports families of seriously ill
children by creating a community of comfort and hope. Its two Ronald McDonald House programs provide temporary lodging, transportation, meals, and social services to families who travel to Philadelphia for pediatric care. Its programs also include three Ronald McDonald Family rooms at local hospitals, Ronald McDonald Camp, and a Ronald McDonald Care Mobile, operated in partnership with St. Christopher’s Foundation for Children.
About the Office of Immigrant Affairs for the City of Philadelphia (OIA)
From the beginning, Philadelphia has worked to be a welcoming place to people from all walks
of life. Our country was built by immigrants and our strength as a city is reinforced by our vibrant diversity. The mission of the OIA is to promote the well-being of Philadelphia’s immigrant
communities. We do this by recommending and developing policies and programs, which in
turn provide opportunity and access to services. We help facilitate the successful inclusion of
immigrants into the civic, economic, and cultural life of the city. We also highlight the essential
role that immigrants have played and continue to play in our city.
About La Puerta Abierta – The Open Door (LPA)
La Puerta Abierta – The Open Door provides pro bono comprehensive, trauma-informed mental
health services – including individual, family, and group therapy – to the Latinx immigrant and
refugee community in the five-county Philadelphia region. Specifically, the organization serves
those who are unable to access mental health services elsewhere due to lack of legal status and
linguistic, cultural, and economic barriers.
About Brewerytown Sharswood Neighborhood Advisory Council
Part of the Brewerytown Sharswood Community Civic Association, the Neighborhood Advisory
Council (NAC) provides information on resources throughout the Brewerytown Sharswood
neighborhood and Philadelphia.
About African Family Health Organization (AFAHO)
AFAHO provides culturally and linguistically sensitive health, human, and educational services
to African and Caribbean immigrants/refugees. We strengthen community health culture and
facilitate social integration through the utilization of a unique peer support model.
About Lancaster Farm Fresh Co-op (LFFC)
(LFFC) is a non-profit organic farmer’s cooperative of over 100 family farmers headquartered in
Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. We focus on creating healthy high quality foods from our
highly maintained and enriched soils on our small-scale family farms.
About Health Partners Plans (HPP)
Health Partners Plans is a not-for-profit managed health care organization serving more than
259,000 members in Southeastern Pennsylvania. It provides a broad range of health coverage
options through Health Partners Medicare, Health Partners (Medicaid) and KidzPartners (Children’s Health Insurance Program). Founded more than 30 years ago, Health Partners Plans is
one of the few hospital-owned health plans in the country. To learn more about how to PartnerUp with Health Partners Plans, visit HealthPartnersPlans.com twitter.com/HPPlans and Facebook.com/healthpartnersplans.
About Cradles to Crayons (C2C)
Cradles to Crayons provides children from birth through age 12, living in homeless or low-income situations, with the essential items they need to thrive – at home, at school and at play. We supply these items free of charge by engaging and connecting communities.