Chosen 300 says hunger demand goes beyond holiday season

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- It was the first time Michelle Snipes of West Philadelphia had waited in line for food. Like many, she's thankful for the Thanksgiving giveaway at Chosen 300 Ministries. But there's a looming concern about what happens when the 'Season of Giving' ends.

"I do think it's important to help people in the community because sometimes you don't really know what people are going through," Snipes said.

Brian Jenkins, Chosen 300's executive director, said the organization continues to provide, yet hunger insecurity is up 60% in Philadelphia.

"What it really means is a difference between life and death, because of the fact they just don't have enough food," said Jenkins.

Jenkins said before the pandemic, Chosen 300 fed 1,500 families. Now they are looking at 2,500 families every week, many are first-timers.

"We're seeing a Lexus pull up or a Mercedes pull up. Well, why would we serve that person? Well, they used to have a job before the pandemic," he answered.

Chosen 300 has five locations throughout the Philadelphia area. The pantry is open six days a week.

"It is a huge problem-- the issue of hunger. But on the other side donations are so low," Jenkins said.

Representatives from Chosen 300 say the greatest challenge has been many people are without a job given the pandemic, so their payroll contributions are down. And Chosen 300 provides more services than just food.

"They work effortlessly to make sure the community has food, clothing, a place to stay if you don't have a place to stay. So it's more than just the holiday," said Lelia Williams of West Philadelphia.

It's a wake-up call. The holiday spirit is alive, but the need to help those less fortunate is greater than ever.
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