North Philadelphia saw enough food insecurity before the COVID-19 pandemic, and it only got worse as the city went into lockdown.
Around 30% of North Philadelphia residents are faced with severe food insecurity and do not know when their next meal will be.
As a way to engage the community with meals and food nutrition programs, Sunday Suppers, a decade-old Philadelphia food and nutrition program has transformed into a new one called Nourish.
Now, it is a new meal-kit delivery service run by New Kensington Community Development Corporation (NKCDC).
The new-and-improved program began at the end of May 2021, and has already seen many families in Kensington, Fairhill and Juniata neighborhoods of Philadelphia achieve healthier lifestyles through its guidance.
Its assignment is to get residents informed about food nutrition, give them access to healthier foods, such as fruits and vegetables, and to provide them with simple recipes they can make at home.
The new Nourish program will be run by Sunday Suppers’ current program manager, Jacquelyn Saez.
She will deliver weekly meal kits to families that contain fresh ingredients, nutritional information, detailed kitchen checklists, suggested physical activity, and other social service information.
In addition to providing healthier food alternatives to families, Nourish will also offer bi-weekly Zoom calls focused on cooking instruction and other pertinent information.
Saez, who was born and raised in Kensington, has a degree in Public Health from Temple University. There, she learned about the links between diet, nutrition education, food access, and health disparities in low-income communities.
As Saez began to grasp more information about food access and health insecurity in different communities, she began using her knowledge by joining Sunday Suppers in 2017, and is looking forward to becoming a part of the Nourish program as well.
Dr. Bill McKinney, the executive director at NKCDC, also said he is excited to launch Nourish, and believes the program will be a significant resource for North Philadelphia residents.
“We are grateful for the years of innovative work from Sunday Suppers, the expertise of the staff involved, and the good fit the new Nourish program will be for NKCDC and the communities we serve,” Dr. McKinney.
Despite nearby hospitals, such as Temple University Hospital, ranking high on the list for best hospitals in America, Dr. McKinney is hoping to see more efforts like Nourish that will decrease food insecurity in the area.
“Good public health means more than good hospitals,” said Dr. McKinney. “It also means having access to healthy, affordable food.”
NKCDC was founded in 1985 by leaders in Fishtown that came together to discuss the needs of their community. They began cleaning and remodeling vacant lots, and providing first-time homebuyer help among other housing counseling services.
As of now, NKCDC has been providing small business resources, and investing in Nourish as a way to implement healthier food at the dinner table.
“We ask for everyone’s support in honoring the work of Sunday Suppers by making our new Nourish program a success,” said Dr. McKinney.
For more information on Nourish, visit its website.