Philadelphia business feeds children, opens up pop-up grocery store during pandemic

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- A Philadelphia restaurant owner has become an emergency food provider for children during the pandemic.

Josh Kim, now of Plymouth Meeting, was born and raised in South Philadelphia, and it wasn't always an easy life.

"I know what it's like to live with nothing. I know what it's like to have humility, and holding paper food stamps to pay at grocery stores. I know that feeling," he said.

He was lucky enough to find a career he loves to support his family. The love of food eventually led to the opening of Spot Gourmet Burgers in Philadelphia's Brewerytown section.

"I'm not selling hamburgers or sandwiches, I'm making them for a bunch of friends. They just happen to be giving me money for it," he said.

But 2020 was a devastating blow to the restaurant industry and communities everywhere, but that didn't deter Kim.

"I put the sign up on my window, 'Hey Philly, if you have any small children and you cannot feed them I will,'" he said.

So he began giving out meals for free to children under 13. And he didn't stop there. After looting in the area closed down local markets, he opened a grocery store right inside Spot Gourmet Burgers that would last until the markets reopened.

"I wake up at 5 a.m. I go to the food produce distribution center. We go to the butcher. I go to the restaurant depot. I load up my pickup truck with $5,000 worth of produce and meats and dairy," he said. "That's crazy, but it's COVID, who cares."

"This mission that I have with the community goes beyond this crisis of the pandemic," he said. "If I can at least sustain this gravy train to feed the people around me, that's the best I can do. I can rest my head now knowing that it wasn't for nothing."

"There's a ripple effect on everything we do and it always starts with one person or one action," added Kim. "If we all just pick up one stone and move it. If we all did that, eventually, we actually can move mountains together."
Copyright © 2021 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.