For several years there has been a second major food distribution site just up the street from Keystone Opportunity Center.

“Fresh for All” is a weekly, 1-hour food distribution event held in the parking lot of Grace Bible Church. A project of Philabundance (a food saving organization based in Philadelphia), Fresh for All operates year round, unless the weather is too hot or too cold for the safety of the participants.

About 135 people each week pick up rescued produce, bread, meat and other groceries delivered by Philabundance. Staffed by volunteers from Grace Bible Church, this program is a weekly staple for so many.

But this wonderful gift to the community was in jeopardy of closing for a while.

Philabundance wanted to reassign their staff person to other responsibilities, and the church volunteers did not want to take over responsibility for the program.

Keystone, with Philabundance’s help, found the resources to switch management to Keystone’s team on September 18. Chris Farley, who started as Keystone’s Affordable Housing Manager in March, is now also taking charge in maintaining Fresh For All under the direction of Cindy Dembrosky, Food Pantry Manager. The volunteers from the church have since joined Keystone’s volunteer program, and the food remaining after each week is now donated to Keystone’s food pantry.

Despite the fact that this is just up the street, we realized that very few of our Food Pantry clients use Fresh For All’s food pickup site, while very few of the people at Fresh For All are clients of our pantry. Perhaps it serves the doughnut-hole of those who earn just a bit over the financial qualification for traditional pantry services. Or maybe they live outside the service area. But clearly they need the site, as every week more than 100 people stand in line for an hour in the heat, cold, and rain before the site opens.

Keystone has received funding to help address our costs in 2018, with a strong hint that we might be able to get a repeat grant next year. But we will be seeking sponsorship of the site as we need to look to sustainability of the program after the grant funding runs out.

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