North Philadelphia church deacon helps feed hundreds of families every week

The Bethel Presbyterian Church is in a neighborhood where more than 40% of people live below the federal poverty line.

Beccah Hendrickson Image
Wednesday, October 12, 2022
North Philly church deacon helps feed hundreds of families every week
Grace Marable spends her days calling as many sources as possible, like Philabunandce, and putting dozens of bags together every week with at least three meals.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- A North Philadelphia woman is stepping up to help her community in its time of need, organizing weekly food drives to help neighbors put meals on the table.

Grace Marable is a deacon at Bethel Presbyterian Church on 19th and York streets. On Thursday, she expects to see a line of hungry people that usually wraps around the block.

"So many people do not have adequate food for their families," she said.

The church is in a neighborhood where more than 40% of people live below the federal poverty line.

"It's just important to help," said Marable.

Grace Marable

She says between the pandemic and inflation, her neighbors are hurting.

"We know to prepare for at least 100 people tomorrow," she said. "When you go to stores to get stuff, the supply is not there or the price is so high that you have to make choices or alternatives to be able to fill your food bag."

That's why for over a decade, food has been her mission. She spends her days calling as many sources as possible, like Philabunandce, and putting dozens of bags together every week with at least three meals.

"We need bread. Tomorrow we need 100 loaves of bread," she said.

To keep doing its lifesaving work, the church needs more help. It has a fundraiser going for $250,000 to get a new roof and repair water damage throughout the building. The goal is to bring the community back inside.

"Since the pandemic started, we have been outside every week. Rain, snow, we have been outside," she said.

Her vision is to make this church a warm, safe place for the community in a time when safe spaces seem few and far between.

"This is a lot of space here," she said. "It could be us (who needs help) the next day, the next week, the next month."