Share Food Program in Philadelphia Extends Its Reach to Millions with Food Donations

By Colleen Leonardi

Philadelphia Share Food Program executive director George Matysik
Philadelphia Share Food Program Executive Director George Matysik. Photo credit: Rebecca McAlpin

The Share Food Program of Philadelphia is the largest hunger relief organization in the region. Pre-Covid-19, they reached 700,000 people with food every month.

And since the pandemic they have risen to the challenge of hunger relief during an economic downturn.

“The word ‘heroes,” writes Nancy Painter, publisher of Edible Philly, “seem nearly insufficient to acknowledge their superhuman efforts at this time.”

Share Food has distributed millions of meals to families since the pandemic started. Every Monday and Thursday, they provide free boxes of food to families throughout Philly.

Recently, they’ve been able to ramp up thanks to the federal Coronavirus Food Assistance Program. With funds from the federal program, they’re receiving thousands of boxes of food to give away to families in need.

The non-profit is also offering “contact-free” food deliveries to seniors through their Senior Delivery Food Program and other at-risk populations. If you’re in need of a meal or a box, however, and you’re not sure you if qualify, Share Food will acknowledge your need. “No one will be turned away from requesting a box,” states their website.

And if Share Food’s track record is an indication of what they’re capable of, Philly residents will continue to have access to nutrition for some time to come during the Covid-19 crisis.

“They distribute 35 million pounds of nutritious food annually through a longstanding network of food pantries in Philadelphia and the suburbs,” writes Painter. “In addition they distribute school lunch products that reach over 300,000 kids across 795 schools.”

For an organization that started as a food co-op in 1986, Share Food has grown in immeasurable ways to work with Philly, its citizens, and local and statewide government to ensure Philly residents have a steady food source during a time of great unease and change.

Read more Beyond the Plate local food hero storiesLearn more about our partners, Niman Ranch at nimanranch.com.

Get more local stories at Edible Philly.