Day of Hope shines light on those helping Philadelphians in need amid COVID-19

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- As the need for food in Philadelphia is growing amid the coronavirus pandemic, Philabundance says it's finding a way to feed more people than ever before with 40 new distribution sites.

In partnership with Good Morning America and ABC, the #DayOfHope campaign is shedding light on organizations giving hope to communities by helping to keep them fed.

Philabundance was already serving about 90,000 people per week. Now, with the pandemic, it expects thousands of more people need help.

"No one was discouraged, everyone hit the ground running. Everyone wanted to make sure that our neighbors in need were fed, our agencies had food and we're doing everything we can to adapt and change during this ever-changing pandemic," said Samantha Retamar, the public relations associate for Philabundance.

One of the organizations supporting them is Bimbo Bakeries, whose products are often flying off the shelves in the midst of this pandemic.

Thursday, the company donated $500,000 to Feeding America and the #DayOfHope campaign, hoping their money can go a long way to help Philabundance and other food pantries around the country.

"In this instance when you have people, so many people, who are facing this hardship and looking ahead and seeing what's uncertain, to know where your next meal is coming from...can provide you with a sense of normalcy in a very uncertain time," said Dana Connors, senior director of corporate affairs for Bimbo Bakeries USA.

The need for food isn't new for neighbors around Upper Room Missionary Baptist Church in West Oak Lane. The deacon says he was handing out boxes every weekday even before COVID-19.

"I take this very seriously. I always have and I always will take it very seriously helping people," said Michael Bennett, a ministry leader with the church.

The church is one of 40 sites around the city that Philabundance is now providing 400 boxes with on Mondays and Thursday to give to the neighborhood. Bennett said the distribution started at 10 a.m., but the line started at 6:30 a.m.

"We get rid of all 400 boxes. All 400 boxes and then you have a numerous people who come after the 400 boxes go," he said.
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