Amidst this coronavirus pandemic we are growing used to fewer supplies and higher demand. Just walk down the cleaning isle in your local grocery store. It leads to inflated prices and higher profit margins for the business world. For the nonprofit world, fewer supplies and higher demand just lead to heartbreak. The charitable system in the U.S. was never equipped to handle a national crisis like we are experiencing today. They are dealing with the perfect storm; needs are growing exponentially, fewer donations are coming in, and volunteers are staying home.
At Phillips Charitable Foundation, we felt that it was time to shift our focus from grants to emergency donations. Stories of long lines at local food banks led us to focus this emergency funding initiative on food and other basic supplies. We chose eleven organizations within our geographic giving areas and sent each a $5,000 donation. These organizations are struggling just to keep up with minimal needs. If you are considering making a family donation in this time of urgent need, please consider one of these organizations.
We were excited to discover an organization called Off Their Plate – part of the World Central Kitchen initiative founded by Jose Andres. Off Their Plate is a grassroots movement to support healthcare workers and local restaurant workers during the COVID-19 Pandemic. They direct funds received to local restaurants and equip them to meet COVID-informed food prep protocols so they may restore wages and work to their most vulnerable staff. The nutritious meals are then delivered to frontline COVID healthcare workers. They’ve found a way to help two industries so hard hit during this pandemic; hospitality and healthcare. Phillips Charitable Foundation’s donation will be directed to their services in the Pittsburgh area.
Founded by the late Harry Chapin, Long Island Cares brings together all available resources for the benefit of the hungry and food insecure on Long Island. Their vision is a “Hunger Free Long Island”. They opened the Harry Chapin Food Bank in 1980. Today they distribute more than eight million pounds of food and supplies annually to over 590 food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, group homes, day treatment facilities, senior nutrition sites and day care centers on Long Island.
Walk the Walk Foundation is part of the National Diaper Bank Network. They are now supporting seven Emergency Baby Pantries across Anne Arundel County, Maryland. Items such as diapers, wipes, formula, diaper rash cream, and baby wash are among the top items they donate to the pantries.
The Light House Shelter’s food program provides community members in need with nutritious food to support health and well-being. They serve hot lunches every day in their cafeteria. Perishable and nonperishable food is distributed from their food pantry. They also provide bagged lunches.
End Hunger has a 12,000 square foot food distribution warehouse that supplies and stores food and resources for 73 Partner Feeding Organizations throughout Southern Maryland. Their partners include food pantries, backpack programs, and mobile distribution sites. Their mission is to end hunger in Calvert County, Maryland and they are making great progress.
The Asbury United Methodist Church Food Pantry has both a food giveaway program and a soup kitchen. Hot meals are offered on Saturdays. In addition, they are open three days per week for food giveaway. Basic food necessities in addition to baked goods, breads, and pastries are offered.
Meals on Wheels programs operate across the country to address senior hunger and isolation. Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland has been in operation since 1974. They serve clients who are 60 or older, disabled, and/or homebound with no one available to aid in meal preparation. Bill Fitzgerald, Senior Director of Institutional and Corporate Giving said “We have seen a tremendous increase in demand for our services and we are heartened by the response of the community to help us meet the need.” The donation from Phillips Charitable Foundation was directed towards support services in Anne Arundel County.
Like the Meals on Wheels programs across the country, Meals on Wheels of Wheaton works to address senior hunger and isolation. They deliver hot nutritious meals to the elderly and disabled individuals within their community. The meals are delivered from their kitchen by volunteer drivers.
The Island Harvest Food Bank, founded in 1992, distributes fresh produce, meat and non-perishables throughout Long Island. They support a network of 400 local community partners. Their mission is to both end hunger and reduce food waste on Long Island.
The Chesapeake Cares Food Pantry is part of Chesapeake Church. It is open twice per week for the community. They provide groceries, encouragement, and partnership. They say that their success stories are when people don’t need them anymore! Already in 2020 their volunteers have distributed close to 100,000 pounds of nonperishable goods, frozen foods and fresh produce to an average of 600 families per week.
South Shore Church operates a small food pantry at their church site. They have recently increased hours and, like others, have experienced a surge in need.
This is a scary time for all of us. But we’ve seen so much strength and courage from the staff and volunteers at these and similar organizations. Despite the perfect storm, they continue to risk their own health to meet the growing needs of vulnerable children, families, and seniors. At Phillips Charitable Foundation we are honored to help support them and their missions.