As chair of the Integrative Studies Department, Dr. Marjorie Allen wanted a way to show that the University cared about hunger. Food insufficiency is very prevalent in this neighborhood, and Allen wanted to create a solution through service learning, academic partnerships, and participation from students and faculty. Allen’s mission through the Exploring Nutrition Program is “to have a positive impact on the neighborhood’s health and nutritional well-being by pooling their collective resources and expertise through a partnership with local businesses, community organizations, and religious institutions”.
The average income in our neighborhood is lower than most incomes. Because incomes are low, food insecurity is high. Food insecurity is also high due to a lack of access. Prior to The Fresh Grocer supermarket, the neighborhood was a food desert. Seven years ago, The Fresh Grocer was built, and it allowed the community closer access to food, along with a partnership with the University. “How can we make life in the neighborhood better” was the framing question that began the Exploring Nutrition Program.
Hunger is among us. Low income families, the elderly, children, and even college students are affected by hunger. According to the U.S. Census bureau, more than half of college students who live on their own are in poverty. In response to this startling statistic, Dr. Claudia Curry started a program in 2012 that assisted college students who were homeless and hungry. Some community colleges in the Philadelphia area have also begun to offer food assistance through emergency funds. One community college even launched its own food pantry for students.
Another prime reason for hunger is the loss of food stamps. Decreasing unemployment rates could limit nutrition assistance for many Americans, including members of our community. For those who do have food stamps, it is often difficult to “stretch” them for four weeks. By the third week, children and their families are at risk for hunger. Efforts for hunger relief are in place but will take a while to execute.
Food insecurity affects many throughout our neighborhood. Because of this, it is important to actively raise awareness for hunger, and the Exploring Nutrition Program strives to raise awareness and ultimately end hunger. “I am convinced we can make a difference”, says Allen.
Seniors Christopher Hanno and John Schatz will be working closely with Rev. Jones this semester at Servants of Christ United Methodist Church. Servants of Christ is located in the Germantown section of Philadelphia, five minutes from La Salle University’s campus.
As a project for Leadership and Global Understanding (LGU), Hanno and Schatz will be spending three to four hours a week at the church. “Chris and I will be looking over the financial records of the church and trying to change the financial culture of the church from one of survival to one of stability”, says Schatz.
Hanno and Schatz will also be working on a video that highlights the legacy and identity of the congregation. “Pastor Jones is very passionate about this project”, Schatz adds. Rev. Jones was unavailable for comment.
Upon visiting the Church, I noticed there was a fence with barbed wire around it. Although the church was surrounded with barbed wire, it was beautiful. The church doors were locked, but I was able to capture exterior images.
The Church truly was a diamond in the rough and a hidden treasure inside the neighborhood. Below are six images I captured of Servants of Christ United Methodist Church.
Close up of the front door
The upper half of the Church
A side view of the Church
Servants of Christ United is located on Germantown Ave.
A glimpse of the Church through the barbed wired fence.
The Church faces the back of a home located on Germantown Ave.
Looking to join an organization on campus that promotes the greater good? Look no further because Pheed Philadelphia is a student organization that helps others in need four times a week. Pheed Philadelphia is a soup kitchen service program that serves St. Francis Inn, Face-to-Face, Sunday Breakfast Rescue Mission, and Blessed Sarnelli House.
Established in 2011, Pheed Philadelphia is an on campus student organization that is devoted to raising hunger awareness. There are a total of 10 coordinators that visit these sites four times a week. Pheed Philadelphia chooses to raise awareness for hunger because 870 million people worldwide suffer from hunger. The main reason for hunger is due to a lack of power, money, and resources.
Pheed Philadelphia was established in 2011 at La Salle University.
Philadelphia is the eighth city in America that does not have enough food. In Philadelphia, 49 percent of people do not have shelter, 60 percent of people are unemployed, and 20 percent of food assistance is unmet. Even though 460,000 people receive food stamps, 150,000 eligible people in Philadelphia do not receive benefits. Pheed Philadelphia wishes to make a difference by raising hunger awareness and helping the less fortunate.
Each year, La Salle University hosts a hunger banquet in order to raise awareness. Their goal is to show students the difference between social classes and the way they eat. La Salle also hosts a sandwich making event on campus that helps the hungry. “I’ve learned more at a soup kitchen than the confines of a classroom”, says Molly Mahon, a coordinator for Pheed Philadelphia. Getting involved in an organization that benefits others is an excellent way to give back to the community. Coordinators create and build relationships, while raising awareness for hunger, which truly is something that cannot be taught in the classroom.