Shelves Are Bare at the Greater Philadelphia Food Bank; Changes In Food Industry Leave Food Bank Struggling for Donations

Apr 24, 2001, 01:00 ET from Greater Philadelphia Food Bank

    PHILADELPHIA, April 24 /PRNewswire Interactive News Release/ -- For the
 first time in recent history, the Greater Philadelphia Food Bank is suffering
 from a serious shortage of donated food to distribute among the nearly 800
 charities it supplies throughout Philadelphia, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and
 Montgomery counties.
     "This deficiency hit us quickly and hard," said Jo Ann Connelly, president
 of the Greater Philadelphia Food Bank, which is celebrating its 20th
 anniversary as the largest distributor of donated food to charities that feed
 the needy in southeastern Pennsylvania.
     "We saw certain trends, such as the emergence of "dollar stores" that are
 now competing for previously donated items," she said.  "Combine that impact
 with the consolidation of supermarkets and manufacturers, many of which are no
 longer headquartered in this region, and you have a half-empty warehouse."
     The Food Bank's 50,000-square-foot food distribution center can hold about
 four million pounds of frozen and nonperishable food items, but at this point,
 less than half of that amount is available for distribution.
     "On the average, we distribute 16 tons of food every day," Connelly added,
 "but at this rate, we're looking at serious shortfalls.  And if we can't
 supply food for our member agencies to distribute among their low income
 clients, that means these programs will either be forced to use their precious
 resources to purchase food, or even worse, that their clients will be turned
 away."
     The Food Bank is dealing with this crisis by purchasing more food at
 wholesale prices and then selling it to their agencies, but few can afford
 that for any period of time.  They are also traveling further distances to
 secure food donations, but that is also an extra expense that must be limited.
 They have just hired a food drive coordinator to encourage community-based
 food drives to supplement the drop-off in unsaleable items that previously
 came from supermarkets.
     "We're hoping that our loyal food donors will respond to our plea for help
 and that companies that haven't previously donated will be encouraged to do
 so," Connelly said.  "Otherwise, the reality is that more people will be
 forced to skip meals, more children will go hungry, and more seniors will be
 denied the proper nourishment they need; all with potentially devastating
 consequences.  Many agencies may have to cut back on their hours and turn
 people away if there is no food to give them, and that would be tragic for
 everyone.
     "This crisis is avoidable," Connelly asserted, "there is still surplus
 food available for donation.  We just hope that these businesses will make the
 decision that people's health is more important than a few extra pennies of
 profit," she said.
 
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SOURCE Greater Philadelphia Food Bank
    PHILADELPHIA, April 24 /PRNewswire Interactive News Release/ -- For the
 first time in recent history, the Greater Philadelphia Food Bank is suffering
 from a serious shortage of donated food to distribute among the nearly 800
 charities it supplies throughout Philadelphia, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and
 Montgomery counties.
     "This deficiency hit us quickly and hard," said Jo Ann Connelly, president
 of the Greater Philadelphia Food Bank, which is celebrating its 20th
 anniversary as the largest distributor of donated food to charities that feed
 the needy in southeastern Pennsylvania.
     "We saw certain trends, such as the emergence of "dollar stores" that are
 now competing for previously donated items," she said.  "Combine that impact
 with the consolidation of supermarkets and manufacturers, many of which are no
 longer headquartered in this region, and you have a half-empty warehouse."
     The Food Bank's 50,000-square-foot food distribution center can hold about
 four million pounds of frozen and nonperishable food items, but at this point,
 less than half of that amount is available for distribution.
     "On the average, we distribute 16 tons of food every day," Connelly added,
 "but at this rate, we're looking at serious shortfalls.  And if we can't
 supply food for our member agencies to distribute among their low income
 clients, that means these programs will either be forced to use their precious
 resources to purchase food, or even worse, that their clients will be turned
 away."
     The Food Bank is dealing with this crisis by purchasing more food at
 wholesale prices and then selling it to their agencies, but few can afford
 that for any period of time.  They are also traveling further distances to
 secure food donations, but that is also an extra expense that must be limited.
 They have just hired a food drive coordinator to encourage community-based
 food drives to supplement the drop-off in unsaleable items that previously
 came from supermarkets.
     "We're hoping that our loyal food donors will respond to our plea for help
 and that companies that haven't previously donated will be encouraged to do
 so," Connelly said.  "Otherwise, the reality is that more people will be
 forced to skip meals, more children will go hungry, and more seniors will be
 denied the proper nourishment they need; all with potentially devastating
 consequences.  Many agencies may have to cut back on their hours and turn
 people away if there is no food to give them, and that would be tragic for
 everyone.
     "This crisis is avoidable," Connelly asserted, "there is still surplus
 food available for donation.  We just hope that these businesses will make the
 decision that people's health is more important than a few extra pennies of
 profit," she said.
 
                     MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT -  Click Here
                http://tbutton.prnewswire.com/prn/11690X47658448
 
 SOURCE  Greater Philadelphia Food Bank