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The PA Politics Podcast
The PA Politics Podcast

Episode 14 · 1 year ago

The PA Politics Podcast: Episode 14 - The Share Food Program on their COVID-19 Response

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Join us as we chat with George Matysik on Zoom about SHARE Food Program here in Philadelphia, and what their response has been to COVID-19 as they continue to get food to those that need it. 

Hello, everybody and welcome back toanother episode of the PA Politics Podcast, I'm your host Christina andhas always as podcast as brought to you by Belevy Strategies, your twenty firstcentury government relations, advocacy and strategic communications firm.Today we're talking with George Madisin from the share food program here inPhiladelphia about the organization and what their response to Covid nineteenhas been shares. The largest hunger relief organization in the Philadelphiaregion, usually serving over five hundred local food pantries anddistributing approximately thirty five million pounds of emergency food reliefto low income residents, as well as partners with the Philadelphia Schooldistrict to supply the school lunch program in response to the currentcovid nineteen pandemic. Share has exponentially increase theirdistribution and last month alone has delivered nearly four million pounds offood to individuals and families in the...

...across the Philadelphia region. Partwith the city to distribute food to anyone in need, and gas recentlylaunched a delivery program to serve seniors. George Madesick is theexecutive director of the Sher of the program and we're excited to talk withthem today. How are you e Goodprison? How are you great hows quarantine,treating you wer on we're, not in quaatine over herenow, you're, not o. Our team is working pretty much tsnt,O seven, making sure that we're continuing to get fooed out throughoutPhiladelpia and the region to make sure that nobody in our read s is goinghungry at this critical time yeah. So first O wants to talk a little bit moreabout you. How did you get involved with the Sharfood program? So so it's funny. I actually went tohigh school across the street and back in back when, after I a when I wasa student, a mercy tach is: Is My high school and actually used to volunteerhere back in the s when I was a student...

...here, so I actually known share for avery long time and an had a very close relationship. Tut STIBENA win. It wasmy predecessor who was the executive director here for thirty one years ofcar and then after high school. I went on to to Penr for college andthen started getting involved, H in politicsand in profits, particularly around anti poverty work, and so let last year, Wedns or actually guess. Two Thousandand eighteen Stevana announced that she was retiring and you K ow. This was an organization. HasLong meant a lot to me a and my wife, my family h've, been 've, been donorsfor share for a long time. We've been supporters of Sharif for a long timeand when we knew Stevana was leaving. You know it was something that I reallygave a lot of thought to, because this...

...is an organization that means so much to me and yeah rwas reallyreally thankful to be in this position at the time. El. That's great! I love that you startto grow up with it yeah absolutely so what has shares response Ben toCovid Nineteen? So we started our response on onFebruary twenty nine. So I think that's Mewe're. In like day forty or so ourresponse that started first to formas with us, knowing what we were going to need to do from asupply chain respondence as verybody, is seeing when they're going to thegrocery store right now there are a lot of products ar that are not in stock,but they've actually done some. Some great reporting on this that Ortary Sitales are pretty much normalup through about march wealth or so was really tha the evening after the NBAgot canceleder, I think, was a Wenesday...

...night day after that was when grocerystores just rocketed about eighty percent. The next day oyear over year,come the year before. So what that, but for us what we did was we started acouple things beforehand going back to late February. One is we started,tripling the amount of food that we were giving out to our Pang, ourpantries, namely Shell, stable food. So what we did was we essentially forced them to their absolute nacks asmuch food as they could possibly take. We wanted to make sure that that theywere well stocked going into this and that we freed up as much room in ourwarehouse. We have about a five Acre warehouse in the Nice Town, Taogasection of the city. We wanted to make sure we had as much space as possibleso that we could accommodate large donations coming in. So we put a lot offood out and then the other thing that we did was we went out and we purchaseda lot of food in early March with the...

...intention of having it hit right now asit' hitding right now. So, while other organizations are kind ofstruggling to kind of keep up with the demand, we were very fortunate. Wethought ahead a little bit about this. We knew that this was going toeventually be something that could put impact e United States. We wanted tomake sure that we were a little bit of ahead of the curve, and so so we didorder a lot of food and that's that's product that we are now shipping out toour pantries and working with the city of Philadelphia and providing to fortywhat we call supersites forty sites that were partning with the city ofPhiladelphia on to provide sixteenhosand boxes of food everyMonday and every Thursday throughout the throughout the city of PhiladelphiaWow. So with the spart of the CIRUS, how have shares operations changed ifat all, in response dramatically yeah? So so one is, it's been a huge uptickin a total amount of food for us,...

...but there's also been some operationsthat some operational changes that have been a little harder for us. You know we were a open door kind oforganization, everybody come in and we let you know you know people come pick up. Food andthe VINGUAL is come to pick up food. What we've had to do is really, youknow, close the Wer ouse to the general public, but to ensure that we couldhave twenty four seven operations now going where we're taking deliveries outto everywhere that Mak go so that's happening on a on a very regular basis. Frocedal yeah, so four million pounds of food inone month is a lot Ye. You share with us where the food comes from and howshare may be different from other hunger, reliy organizations yeah. Sothere's a there's, a huge difference between US and other hunger reliefeorganizations. One is that we had a very what we would call. You know whatyou Callin your for your stocks. Right, we have a diverse portfolio. We have alot of product coming from different places, so we have a fair amount of governmentdode. So we have a lot of...

...product that we get from the state andfederal government. We get a lot of donated products. We get a lot ofproducts from the ports we get. Products from we've been getting a lotof products from restaurants, and then we get a lot of product andI'm sorry if you can hear the for Clis going. I in the background here is Werokaywere, talking o o a few feet from the warehouse floor here. So Iapologize forfor that audio, but we also get and there's a truck to so weCET. So we get a product from a number of different places. Supermarkets aswell, and then, of course, individual donors who come to us Ey, might do a cane food drive orsomething like that, and then we're able to provide that packout as well asin local farms, O provide forus to. So what can? Members of the generalpublic and wocal businesses do to help their EA yeah yeah and, I have to saylocal businesses and the General Public Hav both stepped up tremendouslyalready over this last month or so, and...

...we've been able to see record donationscoming in, which is exactly what we need at this time. But we still needmore, so do things we always need, or actually two and a half things. One isthat we need. We need volunteers that can help us out bat, our warehouse and,as you mentioned earlier, we've been poloding, delivering food home delivery forseniors that are o native food assistance. So that's one as voleteers and you can go on ourwebsite share food program door to find out out O boluteer. The other is thatwe need donations. So that's the two, a ND TB. We Need A, we need throughdonation, so people can do a can food drive or looking in particular rightnow for shelf stable product that we can that we can deliver to our pantry network. We're getting alot of protestinations were getting a lot of dairy donations and some frozendonations. We definitely could use a...

...greater amount of shelf stable productand that's to be, which is which is financial danations. We can go out andpurchase additional product. We have great relationship with vendors thatcan buro that can get product to us within a few days, and so that'ssomething that we definitely rely heavily on those financialcontributions right now, so that we can use that specifically go out and beable to purchase ball product well, t sounds like you guys are, aredoing everything you can in this time, Waryeah buteour staff. You know we have.We have a ID say Yo know we have great morale here among the STANF Andwe, allkind of pick each other up. I know it's it's difficult times for everybodyright now, but we've got a great team here that we all kind of pick eachother up. We're all going through this thing together we're all workingtogether safely, as we like to say, wer like tobe five steps ahead and six feet apart, so trying to work together as much as wecan.

You know making sure that that we'recontinuing to get the food out do yes, wel. I wish you the best of luck.Thank you so much for talking with me thanks so much. I really appreciate it.

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