A Project of 215 People's Alliance and South Philly Barbacoa
What if we had a completely radical food system? We are taking back our food system at every level and fighting for every family to have access to nutritious, local, chef-cooked meals.
The People’s Kitchen is a food security and employment survival project in collaboration with the restaurant South Philly Barbacoa. Each day, Monday through Friday, different chefs from local restaurants, who otherwise would be unemployed, cook in South Philly Barbacoa’s kitchen 200 wholesome, culturally diverse meals, such as jerk chicken and chicken tikka masala. These meals are then either delivered to or picked up at the restaurant by families and neighbors in need. To help with distributing the meals, 215PA has partnered with Church of the Redeemer Baptist Church in Point Breeze, Puentas de Salud, UNITE HERE Philadelphia, SEAMAAC and the Pennsylvania Domestic Workers Alliance.
Interested in learning more about the People’s Kitchen? Contact Carly Pourzand, Project Coordinator at email@example.com.
The COVID-19 pandemic has worsened the hunger emergency in Philadelphia, yet food insecurity is not a new phenomenon in the city. According to a 2018 report from Hunger Free America, while hunger decreased nationally, food insecurity levels remained high in Philadelphia. Most striking is the impact on low-wage workers as “239,627 adults in the Philadelphia metropolitan region were working from 2015- 2017 but were still food insecure.” The inequality in our food system is immense. The same report states that, “in order to end hunger, the food purchasing power of food-insecure families would need to be increased by $158 million in Philadelphia.” COVID-19 has only exacerbated a broken system, where many of these same low-wage workers have now lost their jobs or seen a reduction in work hours due to the economic shutdowns. It is clearly evident that there is an urgent need to ensure that families and workers most vulnerable receive the food they need.
COVID-19 is forcing social justice base building organizations to invent new methods and practices at a time when we also need to meet people’s most basic survival needs, which is why 215 People’s Alliance and South Philly Barbacoa created the People’s Kitchen. We know we cannot serve everyone. In order to move beyond charity programs and address the system issues of food insecurity, a larger organizing program is needed that highlights the intersections of employment and food access.