The Springside Chestnut Hill Academy Lower School girls have been long-time supporters of the St. Vincent de Paul Food Cupboard in Germantown, which provides food to countless food-insecure families in the area but is having trouble keeping up with the ever-growing need.
The Springside Chestnut Hill Academy (SCH) Lower School girls have been long-time supporters of the St. Vincent de Paul Food Cupboard (SVDP) in Germantown, which provides food to countless food-insecure families in the area but is having trouble keeping up with the ever-growing need. Throughout the academic year, girls in the SCH Lower School generously contribute shelf-stable goods in an effort they fondly refer to as "Food on Friday.”
A strong focus is also placed on providing complete Thanksgiving meals every November, inclusive of turkeys that the Lower School boys contribute via a "turkey drive." Last November, 125 households benefited from the SCH food cupboard assistance. Last week, however, we learned that the food cupboard is in desperate need of support now more than ever.
Many resources that SVDP has relied on in the past have all but dried up, and due to many factors including Covid and the economy, demand on the food cupboard for assistance is greater than it has ever been. Philabundance, for example, requires a minimum purchase which smaller food pantries can not meet, and organizations such as SHARE are no longer contributing to SVDP.
Shelf-stable Items in greatest need are: reusable shopping bags, canned veggies (no corn), canned fruit/fruit packs, tuna fish, canned meat and proteins, small jars of jelly, evaporated milk/shelf-stable milk/powdered milk
and canned beans.
For several years, I have been an ardent supporter of SCH's efforts to benefit the food cupboard and felt that there had to be something more that could be done to help them. Before Christmas, I reached out to the Acme Markets Foundation to see if there was anything they could possibly do to help St Vincent De Paul. There are Acme Markets not far from the food cupboard, so it seemed like a good fit.
The regional director of the Foundation, Dana Ward, quickly responded to me and noted that such requests usually take 30 days to process. However, she insisted that she would try to expedite a formal request made on behalf of SVDP Food Cupboard since she understood the need was really great ahead of the holidays.
I submitted the aforementioned request and within hours was notified that the Acme Markets Foundation was awarding the St. Vincent de Paul Food Cupboard a grant for $2,500 along with 100 reusable shopping bags! In the time of Covid-19, there are still ways to help from a distance to support the community and those in need. A phone call and desire to help turned into something of a Christmas Miracle.
I do not work for St. Vincent de Paul; I am simply a mother of three young children who attend SCH — Chloe, Class of '29, Sydney, Class of '33, and Garrett, Class of '35. As a SCH parent in my fifth year, I am proud to say that we have donated food every week for these five years, as well as organized items collected by SCH and delivered them to St Vincent de Paul. This cause is very close to my heart simply because I believe that no child or family should go hungry, and sadly, during this very difficult year, it seems as though some may.
For Thanksgiving, 125 households were able to celebrate with full Thanksgiving meals! And before Christmas, Lower School girls delivered 770 food items lovingly packed into 70 filled-to-the-brim shopping bags to the food cupboard along with the 100 reusable shopping bags donated by the Acme Markets Foundation.
If you are interested in supporting the SVDP Food Cupboard or want to make a contribution, please contact Liz Bergen or Jean Flynn through the Society of St Vincent de Paul at 484-704-7153 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Jennifer Kent-Miller, in addition to being the mother of three SCH students, is a local resident who lives on the border between Chestnut Hill and West Mt. Airy.