June 1, 2023
Written By: Jessica Bautista view original post
Gov. Josh Shapiro, Tracey Specter kicked off the nonprofit’s first-ever capital campaign with an event at Share’s Philadelphia headquarters.
Today, the first day of National Hunger Awareness Month, Share Food Program announced its first-ever capital campaign, The Campaign for Food Justice, a $35 million effort to revolutionize the future of food security and the nonprofit’s ability to combat the persistent and growing rates of hunger in the Greater Philadelphia region.
Gov. Josh Shapiro joined Board Chair and Campaign Co-Chair Tracey Specter and Executive Director George Matysik at Share’s Philadelphia headquarters to announce that the nonprofit has already raised $28 million to update its facilities, including a $10 million gift from Specter and her husband Shanin Specter, a $5 million grant from the William Penn Foundation, and a $3 million matching gift from Dr. Janet and John Haas.
“More than 1.2 million people in Pennsylvania worry about getting enough to eat every day,” said Governor Shapiro. “It is not okay that many of our neighbors don’t have access to healthy foods and go to bed hungry — that’s why I want to provide universal free breakfast in our schools and raise the minimum SNAP benefit, so more students, families and seniors get the nutritious meals they need. I am grateful for our partners like the Share Food Program who are joining us in this vital work to make sure Pennsylvanians in and around Philadelphia can feed themselves and their families.”
Share operates out of a 100-year-old warehouse in North Philadelphia, and is currently renovating two additional satellite warehouses in Montgomery County and Delaware County as it bolsters its programming and reach, part of a combined $50 million regional initiative.
Since the COVID-19 crisis, Share has more than quadrupled its infrastructure to meet the growing needs of the community, but the current condition of its facility has lagged, hindering its ability to further expand capacity and critical hunger-relief services.
The updated facility will allow Share to increase efficiency, enhance quality of service, and transform how it connects thousands more families with millions more pounds of food each month. Share Food Program currently nourishes families, seniors, and children through a vast network of food pantries, direct home delivery, urban agriculture, food rescue and redistribution, and in partnership with nearly 800 schools.
Share Food Program:
Feeds 305,000 kids across 800 schools through National School Lunch Program
Nourishes nearly 7,500 seniors served through Senior Food Box Program
Delivers 4,500+ boxes of food to neighbors’ doorsteps each month
“It’s been amazing to watch Share grow its staff, fleet of vehicles, and storage capacity as the need ballooned during the pandemic,” said Tracey Specter, who chairs the Board of Directors, where she has served since 2020. “Now Share’s built environment has to catch up in order to continue growing our impact and to build a healthier, hunger-free future. We know this campaign is ambitious, but with $28 million already raised, I’m confident we can get there. Honestly, we don’t have any choice — it’s too important.”
“When people are hungry it interferes with their ability to be prepared in other areas of their life like showing up to school ready to learn or being able to focus at work. It’s a critical, basic need that if not met impacts other important areas of people’s lives,” said Kathy Christiano, Board Chair of the William Penn Foundation. “Share has doubled the number of people it serves since early 2022 and we thank them for their work to decrease rates of hunger across the region, and in turn, provide greater justice and equity in every community.”
The Campaign for Food Justice, driven by the goal of helping more neighbors in need and ensuring food security for all, promises considerable new tools in the nonprofit’s work, including:
More Capacity, Better Food, Healthier Outcomes
Expanded loading docks to ensure smooth inflow of donations and timely deliveries to the people who need them
More freezer space to provide a greater variety of frozen proteins, some of the in-demand products for those served
More refrigerated space for fresh, healthy fruits and vegetables
Increased efficiency of dry storage space for the shelf-stable goods the pantry network depends on
Promote equity and food justice by providing greater access to healthy, culturally appropriate food.
Fully renovated volunteer and packing area to enable further buildout of Share’s Senior Food Box Program and home deliveries to seniors and people with disabilities
Revitalized, welcoming and accessible facility for visitors, volunteers, staff and community
Ample space for community changemakers, school field trips, public service events and more
Upgraded, modernized security and food safety throughout Share Food Program’s campus
Solar panels on the roof will offset more than half of Share’s electric usage in the first year
Resilient facility with generators and battery backups to keep operations running despite threats and challenges
Upgraded stormwater system to store runoff, easing pressure on city systems
Expanded opportunities to move donations through Philly Food Rescue, Share’s sustainability program aimed at reducing food waste while resourcing neighbors
“In every aspect, Share Food Program’s Campaign for Food Justice puts the focus on the people we serve, and we’re so grateful for Tracey’s leadership,” added George Matysik, Share’s executive director since 2019. “Throughout the pandemic, Tracey has been involved in our day-to-day fight against food insecurity, and her hands-on approach to this campaign equips Share with the tools needed to move that fight into the future.”
“The fight against hunger is a fight for equity,” Matysik added.
About Share Food Program
Share Food Program is the leading hunger relief organization in the Greater Philadelphia region, working to eradicate food insecurity through food distribution, education, and advocacy. Through partnerships with nearly 800 schools and 400 community-based organizations and partner pantries, Share Food Program feeds hundreds of thousands of neighbors in need each month.