FOOD AND WELLNESS NETWORK
Today I spent a few hours, alongside two other volunteers, assisting the staff of the Food And Wellness Network. It is located at 415 South 15th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19146. FAWN is a community based food pantry offering nutritious emergency food plus nutrition information, infant formula, and diapers to over 500 struggling, poverty-level families, annually. FAWN is just one of ten programs that are umbrellared under the Turning Points for Children Organization. The program is mainly staffed by one full time and one part time worker. Alison Floyd is the full time Program Coordinator and main contact. Along with those two, there is also an intern that helps with the coordinating and recruiting of volunteers.
This program is similar to the Community Food Center that Philabundance operates. There is a freezer for meat and shelves lined with donated or purchased canned and boxed goods. Clients arrive at their given time of appointment and peruse the shelves as in a supermarket. What is always pleasing to me, is observing the relationships between the staff and the clients. One would assume that a certain level of familiarity forms when interacting with someone on a fairly regular basis. What I heard was laughter, storytelling and genuine questions being asked about health and family.
Today I met a student that attends Philadelphia Art Institute. I asked him how he discovered this service. He told me, when he moved from Connecticut, he actually became a client of the service. He went on to say that now that he is in a better place, an aspiring Chef at a restaurant and student, he spends as much time as he can returning to lend a hand. This is the kind of positive results that are possible with every donation given. I can only wonder where this, forever grateful, youngman would have been if this and other similar programs were not available.
I also met a 20yr old Temple University student who is currently on spring break. Today was her second day helping and she will be in the next day as well. This is actually nothing new to her as she volunteers her time two to three times a week, while attending classes and working at a restaurant. As time grew closer to the 3:30pm finish, I could see the wear on her. However, without fail, she smiled and offered an enthusiastic “Hello!” to all who entered the room.
I too will be returning to volunteer the tomorrow. They are always in need of extra hands. If you would like to find out more, please see below.
FAWN Contact: Alison Floyd - Program Coordinator ;
email Afloyd@tp4c.org - phone (267) 236- 1541