Biden lends a helping hand at Philabundance

The largest hunger relief organization in the Delaware Valley hosted a special volunteer to celebrate an important holiday.

On Jan. 15, President Joe Biden visited Philabundance in South Philly to pay tribute to Martin Luther King Jr. while volunteering a few hours in the fight against hunger. The president’s efforts during his latest visit to the facility on Galloway Street were welcomed with open arms.

“I am incredibly honored that President Biden has chosen to volunteer with us on MLK Day for the third time,” said Philabundance CEO Loree Jones Brown. “This momentous occasion not only pays homage to the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., but also signifies the importance of community engagement and service. President Biden’s participation exemplifies his administration’s commitment and dedication to addressing hunger and advocating for change.”

Biden’s third visit to Philabundance highlighted the recognition of hunger in America and how it affects the health and wellbeing of a growing number of individuals and families, especially children. 

According to Philabundance partner Feeding America, one out of five children (more than 13 million total) faced hunger in 2022. According to Feeding America, that statistic represented a 44 percent increase from 2021 and the highest rate of child food insecurity in nearly a decade. The high cost of living coupled with Congress’ rollback of pandemic-era assistance programs contribute to this rise in hunger, according to officials.

Biden’s visit was accompanied by newly inducted Mayor Cherelle Parker, along with AmeriCorps CEO Michael D. Smith; AmeriCorps Board of Directors Catherine McLaughlin, regional president, Jefferson Health; Philabundance Board of Directors Chairperson Dixie James; and AmeriCorps youth volunteers.

“I was proud to participate in the King Day of Service event today at Philabundance with President Biden and so many others,” said Parker. “Food insecurity is a real issue in Philadelphia and across our region, and anything that we can do, working together, to highlight the importance of addressing it is a worthy endeavor. It was my privilege to join CEO Loree Jones, their team and our president today.”

Biden volunteered at Philabundance in 2021 on MLK Day two days before his inauguration. He returned with first lady Jill Biden a year later to demonstrate their ongoing commitment to raise awareness about the need to end hunger in the U.S. 

Biden and volunteers packed boxes of family meal kits that will be distributed to people experiencing hunger across the region. Each family meal kit contained fresh produce and additional items to create a complete family meal. The boxes also included snacks tailored for children, such as apples and granola bars.  

Biden’s visit came on the heels of the USDA’s implementation of the new Summer EBT program that will provide more than 20 million kids nationwide with $2.5 billion in food this summer, combating the rise in child hunger when school is out.

“We are deeply grateful for President Biden’s commitment to eradicating hunger and his dedication to fostering a spirit of volunteerism in our nation,” James said. “His presence at Philabundance on this significant day not only amplifies the importance of addressing food insecurity, but also motivates and inspires us to continue our mission of providing nourishment and hope to those in need.”