Community organizations and individuals throughout the neighborhoods of Kensington, Harrowgate, Norris Square, and Fairhill regularly take care of each other through food distributions and other food access programs.
In the Kensington area, a number of community members experience food insecurity, which means some people have limited access to nutritional food due to a lack of money and systemic issues like racism.
According to a 2020 report from the federal government, out of 34,330 households surveyed in the United States, 13.8 million (10.5%) households experienced food insecurity at some point in 2020. The percentage was higher for certain households including those with children (14.8%), those with Black people (21.7%) and Latinxs (17.2%), and those with incomes below 185% of the federal poverty level (28.6%).
While the pandemic impacted some of the underlying causes of food insecurity, the virus didn’t completely disrupt the communities’ efforts to address food insecurity. As Voices contributor and Norris Square resident Darryl A. Thomas recently wrote, “Together, we can accomplish many things, even in the pandemic.” The resources below, many provided by local organizations, include food pantries, meal distribution sites, community fridges, produce, and food deliveries.
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- The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provides Pennsylvanians experiencing economic hardship with EBT ACCESS cards to buy food at grocery stores, supermarkets, and anywhere else SNAP benefits are accepted. To apply online, click here. For more information about applying in person, click here or call 215-560-7226.
- Coral Street Fridge is a community fridge located at 2670 Coral St. outside the Kensington Community Food Co-op. The food inside the fridge is free and can be accessed 24/7.
- Mama-Tee Fridge is a community fridge located at 2400 Coral St. outside of Franny Lou’s Porch. The food inside the fridge is free and can be accessed 24/7.
- Ta’Liyah’s Pantry is a community fridge located at 3420 Jasper St. The food inside the fridge is free and can be accessed 24/7.
- St. Miriam’s Parish will be providing free lunches at 2911 Kensington Ave. at the lot next to Prevention Point Philadelphia. Distribution will be on Saturdays from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
- West Kensington Ministry has a food distribution site at 2140 N. Hancock St. on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. You can also schedule an emergency pick-up by calling 267-879-6310.
- Norris Square Senior Center provides a meal distribution site for adults ages 60 and older at 2121 N. Howard St. To reserve a weekly pick-up of five to seven meals, call 215-423-7241. Pickups are usually scheduled from Monday to Friday between 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Make sure to bring your ID for the pickup.
- PaperMill Food Hub is a mutual aid project delivering food and essential items to families in Kensington and surrounding neighborhoods. Contact them at email@example.com.
- Farm to Families provides Philadelphians with boxes of fresh produce at a reduced price. Farm to Families is a program of St. Christopher’s Foundation for Children. Order a produce box and pay (using cash, credit, or SNAP benefits) up to one week in advance for your items. The nearest location is St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children at 160 E. Erie Ave., Main Entrance. Pickup is on Thursdays from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. To register, call 215-910-2901 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The Simple Way, a community organization, runs a Food Choice Pantry located at 3234 Potter St. The pantry is open on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Customers are given a number of points to spend in the store instead of paying with money. COVID-19 safety precautions include mask-wearing, social distancing, limited capacity, temperature checks, and hand sanitizer at the door.
- St. Francis Inn Ministries provides meals served restaurant-style in their dining room at 2441 Kensington Ave. from Monday to Thursday between 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. and from Friday to Sunday between 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. The ministry also provides breakfast to-go, which can be eaten in their garden area, on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. To request a food basket for families and homebound older adults, call 215-423-5845 and ask for Sister Mary or Sister Leslie.
- Cast Your Cares Ministry has a food pantry that provides community members with prepackaged bags or boxes of food. To schedule a pickup time, go to their building at 2438 Kensington Ave. on Tuesdays between 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. or call 215-634-7445. On Saturdays at 4 p.m., the ministry hosts a meal outdoors.
- Community Center at Visitation hosts free family dinner nights at 2646 Kensington Ave. every last Wednesday of the month from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. You must register for the dinner by calling 215-426-9422 or by texting 267-841-7632. The organization also runs a food pantry every Monday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
- Norris Square Neighborhood Project hosts a Farm Stand every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Raíces Garden at 2217 N. 2nd St. The Farm Stand’s last day will be on Nov. 13.
- Kensington Community Food Co-op is a cooperative grocery store owned by its members. The co-op employs local residents and sells locally made products. It is located at 2670 Coral St. and opens daily from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
- The City of Philadelphia’s food distribution sites can be accessed at phila.gov/food.
- Share Food Program, a local organization, distributes free food to children, families, and older people in Philadelphia. You can view their food access map, here.
Editors: Erin Blewett, Henry Savage / Designer: Henry Savage