Groups feeding Philly’s hungry need help to maintain indoor facility

Listen
 Without funding to maintain an indoor facility, many groups will be forced to serve food outside on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. (NewsWorks Photo, file)

Without funding to maintain an indoor facility, many groups will be forced to serve food outside on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. (NewsWorks Photo, file)

A Philadelphia councilwoman is seeking help for the groups that help the city’s hungry.

Non-profit groups that prepare and serve meals to those  in need are struggling, Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell said.

“We need to do something to make sure we don’t make it worse,” she said.

The Rev. Bryan Jenkins’ group is losing its West Philadelphia feeding center and needs city help to replace it.  It would take $100,000 to open a replacement center in West Philadelphia, Blackwell said.

If that doesn’t happen, said Jenkins of Chosen 300 Ministries, 10 churches will have to return to handing out food on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.  

Dainette Mintz, director of the city’s Office of Supportive Housing, said those seeking food arean’t always homeless.

“What I can tell you is that the public feeding on the Parkway has not been limited to a homeless issue,” she said. “There are many poor people who are in need of additional feeding opportunities and what we have attempted to do is educate the public at large that the Parkway feeding is not just limited to homeless persons.”

Whether the city will fund the feeding efforts is part of the ongoing budget talks.

In 2012, Mayor Michael Nutter banned the practice of handing out meals in parks and public places, but a judge overturned the measure.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.