Started in 2011, “Pheed Philly” was found by La Salle University students. These students were previously involved with community outreach programs like working in soup kitchens. Recognizing that numerous organizations were doing very similar work, the students banded together to unite their efforts. I recently had the opportunity to listen to current La Salle students and “Pheed Philly” coordinators Becca Long and Molly Mahon.
“49% of shelter requests in Philadelphia are going unfulfilled and 20% of those looking for food assistance are getting it”, said Mahon “60% of these people asking for these requests are employed”.
There a couple hundred thousands of people in Philadelphia who are not receiving food stamps either because they barely do not qualify or there is not enough money to provide this assistance to all.
Long noted that at each shelter and food kitchen Pheed Philadelphia goes to, the students make those in need feel dignified. The students do not simply just give the needy a meal and end the interaction. The students hold conversation with the needy and got to know a little something about each other.
Mahon said that her favorite experience involved a man named Dexter. Dexter is a frequent visitor to Face to Face. She has seen him twice a week for two years at this shelter. Conversation was always about how they have been and Mahon’s classes.
“He kept asking me if I took English classes and I said well no because I’m a nursing student but LaSalle has English classes like reading classes”, said Mahon “I was surprised he was interested in attending a university. He outright asked me if I could help him brush up on his reading”.
“I wanted to make a difference. I wanted to make them [those in need] happier,” described Long on why she volunteers.
Long and Mahon said they’ve met people from all walks of life at the different locations. There have been people who’ve been in poverty their whole life and there have been people who have had a successful life and lost it.
“You can’t assume anything about anyone. We’re all equal. Its just life’s circumstances”, said Mahon.
Pheed Philadelphia has coordinators and students out at different soup kitchens or shelters nearly everyday of the week. To find out more about Pheed Philadelphia and who you can help follow this link .