"Mission Nutrition" pops-up with weekly meal giveaways to children displaced by COVID-19

Wednesday, May 6, 2020
"Mission Nutrition" pops-up with weekly meal giveaways to children displaced by COVID-19
"When these schools got closed, my immediate thought was, 'How are these children going to be fed?'" Community Journalist Matteo introduces us to the chef behind Mission Nutrition.

AMBLER, Pa. -- Chip Panico is serving up smiles with every meal.

Affectionately named, "Chef Chipper," he is normally responsible for feeding 1,200 to 1,300 kids every day in the Greater Philadelphia area through his Lansdale business, AAA Family Catering.

Many of these children are enrolled in the Child and Adult Care Food Program, administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture. However, since daycares and schools are closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, these meals are no longer guaranteed.

The thought of children going without meals was a troubling one for Chef Chipper. Shortly after the start of the shutdown, he helped initiate a grab-and-go lunch program at six centers in the Philadelphia area, which is reimbursed by the CACFP.

"How about the kids that aren't enrolled in these schools?," Chef asked. "Are they going to be hungry?"

That's why he embarked on a nutrition mission. Partnering with The Griffin Gives Foundation, Chef travels around to Boys & Girls Club locations to distribute free meals. Each bag comes with three hot dinners, three prepared lunches, three breakfasts, and three snacks to last three days.

An alumni of the Boys & Girls Club himself, Chef Chipper is thrilled to give back to an institution that helped shape his adolescent life.

While the pandemic continues to disrupt the career he created, Chef is relying on donations to continue distributing free meals. Anyone interested in donating can follow this link.

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"We're still a community and that hasn't changed," says the head of a North Philly school that provides total care for the neighborhood. Community Journalist Matteo shows us how.