When we heard Philadelphia residents were in need during the pandemic, we had to step in to help. We support the underserved with safe healthcare resources and knew that with our infrastructure, along with our local partner Liberty Resources, Inc., we could deliver food to Philadelphia residents in need.
Before the pandemic, Liberty Resources, which advocates for and works with people with disabilities to ensure their civil rights and equal access to all aspects of life, operated a small food pantry, serving 50–70 households once a month. When the pandemic began, Liberty Resources started hearing about food access issues from those they serve. Some households couldn’t get to the store or food pantry. Others were forced to go without food altogether.
While food insecurity in Philadelphia existed long before the pandemic hit, it was exacerbated for communities that rely on community resources such as food pantries.
“A large part percentage of our disabled community are at high risk for COVID-19 and do not have the supports/means to access food at city-wide distribution centers,” said Lauren Alden, an Independent Living Services Manager at Liberty Resources, Inc. “We saw an immediate need for food delivery so Philadelphians with disabilities could remain safe and independent. Pandemic or not, no person or family should go without food in a city that has the organizations and services to provide food.”
Liberty Resources knew they had to do something. They turned to the City of Philadelphia, the Share Food Program, Live Nation and Modivcare for help.
We worked with local transportation providers— Patterson Transportation, Medical Transportation Providers, Wheels Take You There Transportation—to deliver food packages to the homes of food-insecure members of the community.
Through the program, Modivcare and Liberty Resources delivered nearly 5,500 meals to residents in Philadelphia, averaging 882 households per month. The partnership distributed 5 tons of food per week and delivered more than 75 tons of food.
Collaboration was key to the program’s success. A list of food recipients and food packages were provided to Modivcare by Liberty Resources and the Share Food Program. We then used existing resources with local transportation partners to create routes and deliver food to those who needed it most.
“The pandemic has created a great need for expanded nutrition benefits for those most at risk of contracting COVID-19, especially as the economic crisis continues and food insecurity increases across the country,” said Senator Bob Casey (D-PA). “Ensuring that every older adult and person with a disability has access to nutritious food and meals in their own home (was) a key strategy to contain the virus.”