By Catherine Martin
The Weavers Way Food Justice Committee held its first Summer Food Drive recently at four Weavers Way Co-op locations in Chestnut Hill, Mt. Airy, Ambler and Henry Got Crops Farm Market in Roxborough. The Food Justice Committee is a group of Co-op members and staff who work to alleviate hunger in the Greater Philadelphia region and advocate for equity in the production and distribution of healthy food. This work is vital when you consider that nearly one in seven Pennsylvanians is food insecure.
One of our action items this year was to address increased food insecurity among children during the summer months. During the school year, more than 300,000 Philadelphia area students receive free or reduced-price lunches provided by their schools. But during June, July and August, these students lose access to these meals. Parents look for other ways to feed their families, and food cupboards can really feel the heat.
The Food Justice Committee chose to support children and their families by collecting for two local food cupboards: Mt. Airy’s Holy Cross Food Pantry (www.holycrossphl.org/service) and Ambler’s Mattie N. Dixon Community Cupboard, Inc. (www.community-cupboard.org). Elizabeth Walker, who runs the Holy Cross Food Pantry, specifically asked for fresh produce, and we delivered! Together, staff, cooperators and Weavers Way shoppers collected over 1188 lbs of non-perishable food items, 959 pounds of produce and 245 pounds of household items.
Due to the large quantity of produce collected, we were also able to give to several pantries in Germantown. We were especially honored to have Councilwoman Helen Gym stop by and show her support for our efforts. On Giving Tuesday, Weavers Way shoppers raised $1126.18 at the registers for Holy Cross Food Pantry. This money will enable the pantry to continue to offer fresh produce all summer long. Are you a Weavers Way member and interested in joining the Weavers Way Food Justice Committee? Meetings are held the first Wednesday of each month, 6-7:30 p.m. at Weavers Way Mercantile 542 Carpenter Lane (firstname.lastname@example.org).