Senior volunteers help feed hungry at Feast of Justice food pantry in Mayfair

Tamala Edwards Image
Thursday, November 23, 2023
Senior volunteers help feed hungry at Feast of Justice food pantry in Mayfair
Senior citizen volunteers have been working at the Feast of Justice food pantry in Mayfair to ensure that everyone can enjoy a meal.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Every Thursday, Feast of Justice hosts an outdoor food market in Northeast Philadelphia.

"The outdoor market is completely open to anyone who lives in Philadelphia," says Jayden Doan, volunteer engagement manager for Feast of Justice.

Volunteer Jo Valentine readies the table in front, while Mike Minarcik volunteers on the receiving end, moving food.

"I started in January of 2020. I retired that month," says Minarcik. "It's a way of giving back to the neighborhood and the community."

Their volunteering helps the nonprofit, Feast of Justice, achieve its mission, which Doan says is "addressing hunger, meeting needs" as well as "inspiring hope."

"For the first time in my life, I feel like I'm doing something that is valued and needed," says Valentine.

"The demand we're seeing for our food program right now is higher than the height of COVID in 2020," says Doan.

On Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays, the pantry offers indoor grocery store-style shopping to those living in 11 zip codes in Northeast Philadelphia.

"We're feeding about 400 families a week," says Doan. "The majority of our food is coming from Philabundance and Share Food Program."

Ted Northrop is the receiving manager for Feast of Justice. He says Philabundance and the Share Food Program provide items like rice, lentils and canned beans, as well as fresh produce like cucumbers, beets and turnips.

Valentine says her volunteer duties vary from sorting produce, to letting people know how much of each food item they can take on outdoor market days.

Minarcik says they "have to bring everything in by hand," which keeps him in shape.

"So it's fun," he says.

Northrop says Feast of Justice couldn't do what they do without their volunteers.

"Mike is my right-hand man," says Northrop.

He says Minarcik taught him everything he knows, since he volunteered there before him.

They serve a diverse population.

"We have many people from the Fujianese Province in China," says Northrop.

He says there are also a number of people from the Ukraine and Russia, as well as the Middle East.

"It gives me a sense of joy knowing I'm helping out different people," says Minarcik.

Valentine says the people that utilize the food pantry "make my day."

"It's more than just food," says Doan. "We want to kind of bring our community together, so that we can best support each other."

Mike Minarcik lives in the Mayfair neighborhood where he serves.

"You're helping your neighbor - that's the biggest thing," he says. "I feel good when I go home."

For more information, visit:

Feast of Justice
3101 Tyson Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19149