Tag Archives: Pheed Philadelphia

Healthy wrap-up

Since January I have had the unique opportunity to follow students from La Salle University’s Leadership and Global Understanding program. In the spring of 2015, these students focused on supporting local food charities in the neighborhoods surrounding La Salle University.  These food charities focus on providing meals to individuals and families alike. The meals are healthy and wholesome meals. In following the students I quickly learned that the bigger goal is to not just feed people, but to make people’s live healthier.

La Salle provided numerous speakers throughout the past few months. The speakers were students and faculty alike. These speakers focused on the health impact of La Salle University’s community outreach programs. Dr. Edie Goldbacher, a psychology professor at La Salle helps organize and run a health clinic that educates local residents about healthy living. Dr. Goldbacher’s program focuses on the psychology causes and effects of health related diseases such as obesity, diabetes, and malnutrition. She spoke about how many of those that are affected by these types of diseases, have limited resources and control over the disease. She also added those affected have limited control over what they are able to consume due to where they live. The program Goldbacher runs with La Salle specifically helps those that live in food deserts.

Click on map above to open interactive Google Map to see locations of Easter Food Drive
Click on map above to open interactive Google Map to see locations of Easter Food Drive

Director of the Leadership and Global Understanding program Dr.Marjorie Allen spoke to me about food deserts.  A food desert is an area that does not have much or any access to fresh food, specifically fresh fruits and vegetables. In these areas, there are not many super markets or the super markets are quite some travel time. While there are corner stores, many do not have refrigeration to store and sell fresh foods in. In the neighborhoods surround La Salle, some of the healthier food options come from fast food restaurants that offer salads and fruit slices as alternatives to French fries.

Another community outreach program supported by La Salle University is Pheed Philadelphia. Pheed Philadelphia is a soup kitchen program that is aimed to fight hunger in the local community. Student leaders of Pheed Philadelphia take fellow students weekly to soup kitchens. Students help prepare, cook, and serve the food to those who come in seeking for a meal. Pheed Philadelphia serves numerous soup kitchens throughout the Olney, Logan, and surrounding neighborhoods. Student leader Molly Mahon spoke about the program. She has been involved with the program since her freshman year. The personal stories she shared about the bonds she formed with those who come into the soup kitchen. She added the joy she feels when she sees the hungry enjoying a meal they very much needed one.

In March, the Leadership and Global Understanding students held an Easter Food Drive. Co-sponsored and supported by The Fresh Grocer, the food drive sent food bundles for Easter dinners to 6 different food charities and churches in surrounding neighborhoods. The student leaders worked with local businesses and benefactors to secure food and monetary donations to distribute to the various locations. After doing so, the Leadership and Global Understanding students held two days of volunteering to help sort, package, and distribute the food. The first day involved receiving the delivery of all the fresh food and sorting it. With help from fellow La Salle University students and students from Wagner Middle School, an assembly line was formed and all the food was sorted and packed into food bundles. From there, the bundles were sorted and packed into boxes. On the second day, the student leaders packed vans and trucks with the food and delivered the food to the food charities and churches.

With help from The Fresh Grocer, La Salle's LGU students ran a successful Easter Food Drive. Click on the picture to see a slideshow about the event.
With help from The Fresh Grocer, La Salle’s LGU students ran a successful Easter Food Drive. Click on the picture to see a slideshow about the event.

I learned a great deal about these community outreach programs but why they are so important and needed. For many of us, being able to go and get fresh food may be second nature. We may just hop in our car and drive to the local super market. To people living in impoverished neighborhoods, they may not have a car to go to the store in or there may not even be a store to go buy fresh food from. With few healthy food options to choose from, health issues can arise. It can become a vicious cycle because once health begins to decrease, healthy food options are more important but if healthy food can’t be obtained, health continues to deteriorate.

I was unaware of the various programs offered by La Salle University. I was also unaware of the number of the food charities in the area that distribute food to the hungry. I learned a great deal about health and nutrition. Dr. Goldbacher’s presentation about the psychology causes and effects of health issues was quite eye opening and interesting. Julie Henstenberg’s presentation about how health and eating standards outlined by the government are defined and created was extraordinarily interesting. Molly Mahon’s talk about her experiences of working in food kitchens with Pheed Philadelphia was truly moving.

Following these Leadership and Global Understanding students and watching the various speakers has truly been an amazing opportunity. As a reporter I am often behind a camera or a notepad documenting everything I see or hear. At times I had to stop and just take it all in first hand and not from behind a device. Just standing there and witnessing all the work that goes into making the day better for another person is awesome.

I have included a video that myself and a group of fellow reporters put together to highlight the speakers and work completed by the Leadership and Global Understanding students that was completed since January.


Corinthian Baptist Church

This spring I will be following fellow La Salle University Students Cody Swan and Karla Fernandez as they embark on a journey to raise awareness about the work performed by Corinthian Baptist Church. The church has historical value as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a member for a time. The church has since been involved with civil rights. The church also is home to a food shelter that feeds the needy in the city of Philadelphia.

Corinthian Baptist Church
Corinthian Baptist Church

Swan said that he and Fernandez have been taught “to conceptualize the vast interconnectedness of various socioeconomic, political, and moral issues.” Corinthian Baptist has already connected these. Swan and Fernandez want to push this achievement to the next level.

“[W]e are aiming to strengthen ties with these institutions in addition to helping them become more active and far-reaching in their respective missions,” said Swan.

"Corinthian Baptist Church. Rev. R. K. Hill, Pastor"
“Corinthian Baptist Church.
Rev. R. K. Hill, Pastor”

While their current goals are still be reviewed, they have been meeting with Pastor Dr. Ronald K. Hill, Sr.

As part of their vision statement Corinthian Baptist proclaims “We are a caring people and it is out of our caring that the Holy Spirit has called forth ministries that we might be a blessing to others.”

Corinthian Baptist Church is located 6100 N. 21st Street Philadelphia, PA 19138.

Corinthian Baptist Church
Corinthian Baptist Church
Corinthian Baptist Church
Corinthian Baptist Church
"Built 1931 Rev Wm H. Hopkins"
“Built 1931
Rev Wm H. Hopkins”
Corinthian Baptist Church
Corinthian Baptist Church

Spreading the Good(s)

This spring myself along with some fellow journalists will be following members of the “Pheed Philadelphia” organization as they work in shelters and food kitchens. I will be working with La Salle University students Karla Fernandez and Cody Swan as they helps those at the Corinthian Baptist Church in North Philadelphia.

Pastor Ronald King Hill of Corinthian Baptist is a veteran of the Civil Rights movement. He housed Martin Luther King Jr. when King Jr. was in Philadelphia. I am greatly looking forward to providing a small history lesson to this project as well.

Stay tuned as we will hopefully be on location in the coming week, helping our neighbors.

Pheed Philly

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 .

La Salle students supporting "Pheed Philadelphia". Picture credit: La Salle University UMAS
La Salle students supporting “Pheed Philadelphia”. Picture credit: La Salle University UMAS