Chef-turned-assistant garners generosity for Philadelphia food drive

Philadelphia, 01 Oct 2015

With 750,000 people in Philadelphia’s Delaware Valley facing hunger, Amy Hendry has committed to coordinating annual food and monetary donations to local charity Philabundance since 2008.

This year Hendry, a former chef-turned-executive assistant, rallied Macquarie’s 500 Philadelphia-based staff to donate non-perishable food over two weeks to help combat the issue of food insecurity in their city.  

The food and funds drive equated to 6,881 meals which will be used to help feed some of the 92,000 people supported by Philabundance each week.

Philabundance addresses hunger and malnutrition in the Delaware Valley through direct service programs and a network of 400 local kitchens, shelters and pantries in the Valley’s nine counties, including South Jersey. 

“Staff donated the high priority items that Philabundance desperately need, particularly over summer, for children who are on school holidays and not getting regular nutritious food at school,” says Hendry.

”Everything from canned tuna, to soups and canned vegetables, breakfast cereal and peanut butter was donated. We got so much food we had to move to a larger room to collect the food - it’s been the most successful year yet as bit by bit staff have got on board.”

Food is also donated to Philabundance by restaurants, supermarkets and local farmers which goes a long way to ensuring they are able to support the thousands of people in need. Hundreds more people donate their time and money.

“My love of food and Philabundance is endless which is why I originally got involved in supporting the organisation. As a chef I would volunteer at a food center in the perishable food section cutting meats and preparing food for clients,” says Hendry.

Community programs run by Philabundance are many and varied and include community food centers, set up like supermarket warehouses to enable clients to ‘shop’ for their own food.

An educational food program, Philabundance Community Kitchen, also trains disadvantaged men and women to work in commercial kitchens. The 14-week program provides 500 hours of food preparation training, the opportunity to learn from guest chefs and off-site internships. The result is an average 81 per cent job placement rate in the food services industry. Retention activities with students also help to ensure that training is maximised and employment maintained. 

Image captionGeorge from Philabundance and Amy Hendry at the end of the food and funds drive.