To fight hunger and promote healthy eating, Drueding Center food pantry provides only nutritious food to families in need.
Philadelphia, PA—June 17, 2013—During the past year, nearly half a million people in Philadelphia have turned to food pantries for help. On June 18, the City officially welcomes one of its first “Green Light Pantries,” a new kind of food pantry focused on promoting healthy eating while helping families put food on the table. Unlike most other food pantries, the Green Light Pantry at Drueding Center will provide only highly nutritious food to its clients.
The Green Light Pantry is a pilot program created by the Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger, with funding from Stroehmann Bakeries, Citizens Bank, and the Pincus Fund for Hunger Relief. The Coalition selected Drueding Center in Olde Kensington as one of the first agencies to host a Green Light Pantry in Philadelphia. Drueding Center is a transitional housing program for homeless women and their children that includes a 30-apartment residence, a licensed child care center, and comprehensive counseling and support to help families heal and attain permanent housing.
“Food pantries aren’t just where families go in emergency situations--in these tough economic times, they’ve become a consistent source of food for people who struggle to make ends meet each month,” said Coalition Interim Director Julie Zaebst. “That’s why it’s critical that the food provided at these pantries is nutritious, so we can help families improve their overall health while reducing their risk for hunger.”
Nearly 70 percent of families who go to food pantries have members with chronic disease, such as diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and high cholesterol, according to a survey conducted by the Coalition.
The Green Light Pantry at Drueding Center provides only foods that can be categorized as “Green Light Foods” under a system system developed by the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, which ranked foods based on their Nutritional Facts labels and the USDA’s Dietary Guidelines.
“Our cooking classes for moms were always popular,” said Anne Marie Collins, executive director of Drueding Center. “Many of our families told us they didn’t know what to do with fresh food because they had rarely had it in the past. The food pantry gives moms the opportunity to raise their children to be healthy in body as well as spirit.”
At Drueding Center Pantry, families are allowed to choose their own food. Among the selections: Whole-grain pasta and cereals; low-fat milk and yogurt; fresh fruits and vegetables; and lean proteins, such as canned salmon, frozen chicken, fresh eggs, and beans with no salt added. Items that you might typically find at other food pantries—mac and cheese, for instance, or canned soups that are high in sodium—will not be carried at Drueding Center.
Families who are clients of the Green Light Pantry must attend nutrition classes every month. They also receive free health screenings and assistance in applying for SNAP (food stamps), school meals and other programs that can help their families afford to make healthier food choices.
“The Drueding Center Green Light Pantry gives me access to healthy and fresh grown food--things that I wouldn’t think of buying myself,” said Drueding Center resident Nasheeda P. “I now have the opportunity to change my diet and have learned how to make healthier meals.”
On June 18, the Green Light Pantry at Drueding Center will celebrate its grand opening with:
About Drueding Center
- Tracey Specter, volunteer and former board member, Drueding Center
- Julie Zaebst, interim executive director, Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger
- Anne Marie Collins, executive director, Drueding Center
- John Marcoux, business director, Stroehmann Bakeries
- Deborah Khan, vice president of community affairs, Citizens Bank Foundation
- Elizabeth Rubin, Pincus Fund for Hunger Relief
Drueding Center, the first transitional housing and comprehensive support program in Philadelphia, serves more than 400 homeless and formerly families per year through transitional housing, case management, and a licensed child care center. Drueding Center builds lives and renews hope by working with homeless women and their children to create two generations of self-reliant adults. For more information, visit www.druedingcenter.org
About Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger
Founded in 1996, the Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger strives to ensure all people have the food they need to lead healthy lives. The Coalition connects people with food assistance and nutrition education; provides resources to a network for food pantries; and educates the public and policymakers about responsible solutions that keep people from going hungry.