On Saturday, January 30th, several collaborators came together to provide food to community members who have suffered economic hardship during the COVID-19 pandemic. US Foods, one of the country’s leading food suppliers and food distributors (working with restaurants, healthcare systems, and others), coordinated with partner agencies across the city to hold a massive multi-site food distribution event. US Foods’ support to communities was specifically targeted toward workers in an industry that has been hit the hardest by the quarantine and business closures – food service businesses such as restaurants and cafés. Community-based organizations worked to identify the restaurant workers who had been laid off during the pandemic and spread the word regarding the emergency provisions US Foods was supplying specifically for them.
In the predominantly Latino and African American North Philadelphia neighborhoods of Hunting Park, Juniata, and Feltonville, US Foods partnered with Esperanza as the community-based outreach organization and Tierra Colombiana restaurant as the distribution site. The turnout at this site was the highest of any site in the city, with more than 300 boxes of food distributed.
Boxes contained enough ingredients for 10 family meals, as well as supplemental items – a total of more than 3,000 meals for struggling families.
Quetcy Lozada, Esperanza’s Vice President of Community Outreach and Organizing, coordinated the event logistics and recruited over dozen volunteers to help with distribution. She stated, “It was extremely gratifying to be able to help our community residents who lost their jobs when restaurants were closed for indoor dining. Many of our local eateries have been forced to scale back their staffing to cope with the lost revenue, and we know those families have been relying on any support they can find. We are grateful to US Foods for stepping up to help in such a significant way, not just in our neighborhood but in many across the city. I’m proud of all the community leaders and volunteers who came together to make sure no one in our neighborhood goes hungry during this time of crisis.”