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Awardees Helped Make and Distribute Almost 4 Million Meals in 2022
April 12, 2023, Philadelphia, PA—As April is national volunteer month, Caring for Friends (CFF) food program is pleased to announce its top volunteers for 2022 who helped provide food and friendship to hundreds of thousands of people in need in the Philadelphia area. CFF meets its mission to ensure no one goes hungry or alone in a world of caring people thanks to a network of 10,000 volunteers, including these generous people/groups:
- Rita Ungaro-Schiavone Volunteer of the Year Award: Geanna Williams Davis. Since 2020, Geanna Williams Davis has helped her neighbors in need in West Philly through her nonprofit, EleganceXtreme. She offers seniors meals, pantry staples, and produce, and helps kids with literacy, and through a “positive choices” program. Youth programming happens on Saturdays, so the food she gets from Caring for Friends helps ensure the kids are ready to learn.
- Caring Breakfast Bag Assembly Group of the Year Award: PATH. People Acting to Help (PATH) used to offer vocational training to people with intellectual disabilities. Now, it’s transitioned into a recreational program, and has added volunteering at Caring for Friends to its schedule. Participants are learning new skills, but what’s most important is knowing they’re making a difference.
- Caring Community Organization of the Year: Tau Gamma Delta. Tau Gamma Delta sorority Inc. is a national organization of college alumnae and business women joined by common interests and goals. The Philadelphia chapter began service with CFF in 2020. Despite the global pandemic, these women never stopped delivering meals to homebound and hungry people year-round.
- Caring Company of the Year Award: Parx Casino. Before 2020, Parx team members looked forward to making and serving Thanksgiving meals to seniors in Bucks County. Then the pandemic hit and they had to change how they provided support. And they supersized it in 2022 by volunteering; making and distributing meals; holding a food drive; and making monetary donations.
- Caring Faith-Based Organization of the Year: St Denis Church Havertown. Under the leadership of Tonya Baer and Emily Otto, the parish fills two freezers with food for Caring for Friends, and for neighbors in need. On average, this equates to 300-400 meals a month for homebound seniors, veterans, and people with disabilities. “People know it’s hard out there and every little bit helps.”
- Caring Family of the Year Award: Abdul-Qawi Family. South Jersey resident Abdellah Abdul-Qawi was the Executive Director at Muslim Serve AND ran the Hub of Hope when he met CFF CEO Vince Schiavone. Abdellah took a tour and then a job with CFF. Even though he’s in the kitchen six days a week, Abdellah sets aside Sundays to volunteer with his family. “My legacy is to make sure that my children understand the importance of feeding people.”
- Caring Kitchen Group of the Year Award: Drexel School of Nursing. Eileen Kelly teaches community health at Drexel School of Nursing. Her students go into the community to practice their skills in far NE Philly schools near Caring for Friends, and volunteer with the nonprofit at least twice a semester. Last year, she brought another faculty member and her students, doubling their impact.
- Caring Kitchen Volunteer of the Year Award: Bob O’Donnell. Bob, a NE Philly resident, has always worked hard: he was originally an ironworker; then was drafted into the service; came back and resumed ironworking; then became a police office. Since retiring, he likes to keep busy and spends three days a week volunteering with CFF. “I’ve been fortunate. Now I like to give back.”
- Caring Office Volunteer of the Year: Judy Stefencavage. Judy, a Bensalem resident, ran the meal program at a church, and now volunteers in the Caring for Friends office two-three days a week. Serving is personal to her. “At one time my mother was unable to cook or go shopping, so I gave her Caring for Friends’ meals. I was always in awe of what they did.”
- Caring School of the Year Award: Council Rock High School North. Cemantha Guilian and her special education class at Council Rock North fill mixed boxes of frozen meals at St Andrews, then deliver them to Caring for Friends. On average, she brings six to ten students plus six adults to pack and sort once or twice a month. In February 2023 alone, they delivered over 600 meals.
A celebration of these awardees will be held at generous supporter and Caring Company of the Year, Parx East, at 3001 Street Road, Bensalem, on Thursday, April 27, from 8-10AM. Media who would like to attend are welcome and should RSVP to [email protected].
Due to the increase in need because of inflation, as well as the cut in SNAP benefits, CFF seeks monetary and food donations, and volunteers. Get involved at www.caringforfriends.org.
For more information, or to schedule an interview, please contact Stef Arck-Baynes, Managing Director of Communications, at 917-710-1901.
About Caring for Friends
Founded in 1974 on the belief that no one should be hungry or alone in a world of caring people, Caring for Friends is a food program serving greater Philadelphia. CFF provides food and friendship to homebound seniors, veterans, and those with disabilities; provides food to people facing homelessness; and donates food to more than 250 community partners in unserved and underserved neighborhoods. Donate or volunteer to cook meals, pack snack bags, make deliveries or visit with clients at caringforfriends.org.6abc Philadelphia
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