is Bank of America's Pennsylvania and Philadelphia market president
is executive director of Philabundance
For many of us, the holiday season is a time to celebrate with friends and loved ones. We're surrounded by an abundance of turkey, stuffing, and all the fixings, followed by, of course, a sliver of pumpkin pie. But for many others, it's one of the hardest times of the year to put food on the table.
Rent, utility bills, and other basic necessities all compete for a piece of already stretched budgets, making it extremely difficult or impossible for individuals and families to keep their pantries stocked. And when kids are out of school for the holiday break, it means they do not have access to the school meals they rely on for their nutrition.
One in four people in our region faces hunger and malnutrition. That makes Philadelphia one of the most food-insecure parts of the country, according to Feeding America, the nationwide network of food banks, including Philabundance, the largest food bank in the region.
But just as startling as those numbers is knowing that hunger is all around, affecting people of all ages, nationalities, and backgrounds, people from every neighborhood, and from every walk of life.
One woman lives in Paoli on the Main Line. She isn't someone who you might think faces hunger because she's an educated business professional living in one of our area's wealthiest zip codes. But she is.
After being injured at work, the woman has been living on disability checks, but they don't cover all of her basic expenses. Unable to afford groceries, she attends her local food pantry, a Philabundance agency, to secure the food she needs. What does this food mean to her? "It means I'll be able to eat," she says.
November and December are among the busiest and most taxing times of the year for food banks like Philabundance, which provides food to about 90,000 people per week, a third of whom are children.
There are many ways to make a difference in the fight against hunger across our region. Here are a few:
A financial donation. Give A Meal, a Feeding America program supported by Bank of America, extends the impact of individual donations. For every $1 donated through the end of the year, the Bank of America Charitable Foundation will donate $2 to support Feeding America and its network of food banks. For information, visit www.bankofamerica.com/give.
Be social. By posting the Give A Meal link via Twitter or Facebook, you'll help to raise awareness about hunger and its impact on our region.
Donate. Provide food, time, or money to Philabundance, which serves the more than 750,000 people in our area facing hunger. Every dollar counts.
Help feed our neighbors. Make sure they don't spend another holiday season with empty stomachs. Hunger is a big problem for our local communities. To solve it, we need to work together.