PRESS RELEASE

Caring for Friends to Open Delaware County Food Distribution Center

New warehouse helps better address hunger in hard-hit Southwest Philly, Delco communities

Caring for Friends

October 3, 2022, Philadelphia, PA – To better serve Delaware County and southern and western Philadelphia community partners, Caring for Friends has opened a food distribution center in Essington, Delaware County. The new location is open to community partners two days a week for produce, shelf-stable food, and protein pick-up. It also will host multiple freezers for volunteer visitors to pick up meals for homebound seniors, veterans, and people with disabilities. About 52,000 individuals were considered food insecure in Delaware County in 2020, which equates to a little more than nine percent of the population.* The opening will create two full-time jobs, and currently hosts about six local nonprofits that save one-to-two hours of time, as well as hundreds of dollars on gas picking up food at this DelCo location instead of the CFF warehouse in the Northeast. Special thanks to Wakefern and the Burns’ Family Fresh Grocer supermarkets for donating two pallets of canned vegetables for partners picking up at the dedication and will be in attendance, including: St Paul AME, Word of God Community Church, Shorter AME, Chester Township, and the USO, Philadelphia Airport.

For more information, contact Stef Arck-Baynes at Caring for Friends at 917-710-1901

*Map the Meal Gap Survey, 2020

Caring for Friends

August 3, 2022, Philadelphia, PA – Caring for Friends (CFF), the largest free meal provider sharing food and friendship in greater Philadelphia, is excited to welcome Matt Gambino as its Managing Director of Programs, Partners, and Volunteers. As inflation and the need for food skyrockets, Matt will work with his team to increase our partnerships with faith-based organizations, community groups, and individuals to make and distribute food to neighbors in the 5-county Philadelphia area facing hunger and isolation.

Matt employed his innovative business leadership in both print and online media during his more than 30-year career in journalism, most recently as Director and General Manager of CatholicPhilly.com, the news agency of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. In this role, he earned awards as both a writer and editor.

Prior to that, Matt led editorial operations for community newspapers and websites; led a diverse editorial team for a successful start-up firm; and served in communications roles for a large nonprofit organization. He also successfully transitioned a legacy print newspaper into a start-up digital news platform in Philadelphia that continues to experience growth.

Originally from Norristown, Matt graduated from St. Charles Borromeo Seminary and now lives with his wife and two daughters in Montgomery County.

“I am excited to begin this leadership role with Caring for Friends,” Gambino said. “It enables me to deepen my lifelong passion for building relationships with individuals and organizations in the diverse communities of Southeastern Pennsylvania that I know so well. I look forward to serving more fully the seniors and all people in need of our region with our partners and volunteers, as well as new friends committed to the mission of serving food and friendship.”

Caring for Friends is in dire need of volunteers to cook and deliver meals, as well as donations. Visit the website to learn more: https://caringforfriends.org/
To request an interview with Matt, or for more information, contact Stef Arck-Baynes at Stef@caringforfriends.org

Caring for Friends

June 23, 2022, Philadelphia, PA – Caring for Friends (CFF), one of the largest free meal providers and food banks in greater Philadelphia, is growing its team to meet the staggering need for food and friendship in the face of inflation, isolation, and global food shortages. To help develop strategy, partnerships, and tactics to bring in more food and funds, CFF welcomes Tina Beaumont, a Managing Director at Accenture, to join the board of directors, and Renee Archawski as its Managing Director of Development.

Tina Beaumont is a managing director in Accenture Strategy & Consulting. Since joining Accenture in 2007, Tina has worked alongside C-suite executives and boards of the world’s leading organizations, helping them accelerate their digital transformation. She currently serves as the global life sciences industry lead for Accenture Strategy & Consulting’s CFO & Enterprise Value and Sustainability practices, specializing in change management, process re-design and engineering, and zero-based budgeting solutions. A champion of Inclusion & Diversity, Tina was recognized as a Minority Business Leader by the Philadelphia Business Journal in 2019. Tina earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Penn State University. She is a Delaware County native and currently resides in Newton Square.

Renee Archawski brings 25 years of non-profit management and fundraising experience to her role as Managing Director of Development. In this position, Renee will oversee contributed revenue and government affairs. Prior to CFF, Renee was on staff at Teach for America for six years where she served on the national development team as a Development Coach, working with teams across the country to plan and strategize for fundraising success. In addition, Renee served on the Teach for America Metro Atlanta regional team as Managing Director of Development and also as Interim Executive Director. Renee is a proud board member of Today is a Good Day and Achieve Now. Renee graduated from Penn State with a BA in English and holds an MA in English from West Chester University. She lives in Ardmore with her family.

Caring for Friends is hiring for other positions, as well as seeks volunteers to cook meals, deliver them, and make snack bags for homebound, homeless, and hungry people.

Visit the website to learn more: https://caringforfriends.org

To request an interview with Tina or Renee, or for more information, please contact Stef Arck-Baynes at Stef@caringforfriends.org

Credit Union Insight

American Heritage Credit Union Makes $10,000 Donation to Help Feed People in Need

Caring for Friends

April 20, 2022, Philadelphia, PA—As April 18-22 is volunteer week, Caring for Friends (CFF) food bank is pleased to announce its top volunteers for 2021. CFF relied on a network of more than 10,000 volunteers last year to: pack and distribute 12 million pounds of food to families and individuals; deliver more than a half a million meals to homebound seniors, veterans, and people with disabilities; and provide 400 servings of food monthly to people experiencing homelessness. CFF meets its mission to ensure no one goes hungry or alone in a world of caring people due to these generous people:

  • Rita Ungaro-Schiavone Volunteer of the Year Award: Arlene and Tony Urbanski. Named for the Caring for Friends founder, this award is presented to this Northeast Philadelphia couple for their lifetime contributions to CFF and the more than 100 homebound people to whom they’ve provided food and friendship over four decades. The Urbanskis, who are seniors themselves, have been visiting homebound individuals since CFF’s inception 48 years ago, when they met and worked with CFF founder, Rita Schiavone, and they kept visiting homebound people throughout COVID, and they continue now.
  • Caring Company of the Year: ACME Markets. In addition to providing a thousand Thanksgiving meals for families, ACME also generously donated needed protein to neighbors facing hunger throughout 2021. As need continued to be at an all-time high last year due to the pandemic, ACME also provided a $50,000 grant through its Nourishing Neighbors program to help feed the high number of people in need in our communities.
  • Caring Community Organization of the Year: Rotary Club of Glenside. The mission of this group is “Service Above Self” and it is a group of professionals who believe in committing to service. They visit Caring for Friends’ Northeast Philadelphia warehouse two weekends a month to pick up food and deliver it to 30-40 homebound seniors in North and West Philly, as well as several people in MontCo and Bucks. They have also donated and purchased needed food items, volunteered in the warehouse cooking meals, and donated money towards the purchase of a freezer which stocks meals for homebound seniors, veterans, and those with disabilities.
  • Caring Faith-Based Organization of the Year: Pastor Luisa and Iglacia de Milagro. Pastor Luisa has worked with CFF for three years, bringing food and friendship to unserved people in the North Philadelphia community six days a week … and she is “on call” on Sundays, as well. She also delivers food to seniors’ homes, provides grocery bags to her congregation, and distributes food and toiletries – and ministers to – about 300 people facing homelessness in Kensignton each month.
  • Caring Kitchen Award: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Part of the mission of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is to contribute to community through service. For the past five years, the group has been volunteering up to four times a week in the warehouse kitchen making meals, sandwiches for people experiencing homelessness, and snack bags for kids in need. Last year, they also donated a 40,000 pounds of much-needed dry goods.
  • Caring Kitchen Volunteers: John and Rose Kirby. John, a VP at Philadelphia Insurance Company, is the co-leader of the Monday and Tuesday night volunteer shifts in the CFF kitchen. He has recruited colleagues, family, friends, and others to join him, including his mother, who volunteers with him every Monday night; they both reside in Bensalem. Since Covid, the Monday and Tuesday night groups have made over 200,000 meals for homebound people. John’s passion is cooking and helping others and he believes “there is no better way to combine the two than volunteering Monday and Tuesday evenings in the kitchen at Caring for Friends.”

 

The full list of awardees includes:

  • Caring Driver of the Year: Chris Wilson at Seven Mile Road Church, Northeast Philadelphia. Chris picks up meals every two weeks to deliver to 20 homebound people.
  • Caring Visitor of the Year: Jeff Frazier. Jeff currently delivers meals to 22 people throughout Montgomery, Bucks, and Philadelphia counties. He was initially connected to CFF as part of the Glenside Rotary Saturday team, and has since committed to deliver one day a week. 
  • Caring Cooking Church of the Year: St. Martin of Tours, New Hope, Bucks County. For the past eight years, St Martin of Tours has been one of – if not the top — senior meals partner, making and donating thousands of meals, as well as providing monetary donations to support neighbors in need.
  • Caring School of the Year: New Foundations Charter School, a k-12 school in the Northeast,made sandwiches, volunteered, interned, and donated to help neighbors in need last year.
  • Caring Office Volunteer: Marianne Bonner. From Northeast Philadelphia, Marianne works in the office at least three days a week and helps with the phones, mailings, and special projects. Since she started volunteering in June of 2021, she has volunteered 400 hours.
  • Caring Snack Room Volunteer: Philip Zucker. A resident of the Northeast, Philip has volunteered almost 700 hours since he began working with CFF in 2020. He helps out packing snack bags three days a week, and also trains people in the snack bag room. 
  • Caring Warehouse Volunteer: Daniel Coonan. Daniel, a Northeast Philadelphia resident, volunteers every week with St. Vincent de Paul in Germantown. He recruits and runs the Thursday shift. He also facilitates meal production by delivering trays to St. Katherine of Siena Church and bringing meals back to the Northeast warehouse.

CFF seeks volunteers to help make 100,000 extra meals a month for families and individuals struggling due to inflation. To learn more or sign up for a shift, visit: www.caringforfriends.org.

For more information, or to schedule an interview, please contact Stef Arck-Baynes, Managing Director of Communications, at 917-710-1901.

Caring for Friends

January 12, 2022, Philadelphia, PA – Caring for Friends (CFF), an independent food bank and volunteer organization, distributed more than 12 million pounds of food in 2021; an increase of 3000% over pre-pandemic levels. With a spike in COVID forcing many people into isolation again, CFF is growing its team to meet the staggering need for food and friendship for the Philadelphia area’s most vulnerable populations – homebound seniors, veterans, people with disabilities, those facing homelessness, and hungry families and individuals. As 2022 begins, CFF welcomes Bradford Mills as its new Chief Operating Officer, and Stef Arck-Baynes as its Managing Director of Communications & Corporate Relations.

Brad comes to CFF from the commercial real estate sector, bringing with him proven business success, as well as 20 years of volunteer experience in nonprofit development and leadership for mission-driven organizations including: the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation; the Boy Scouts; and People for People, which brings transformative services to communities in North Central Philadelphia. Brad served with the Marine Corps in Operation Desert Storm and was named a “Veteran of Influence” by the Philadelphia Business Journal in 2018. In his new role as COO, he will run day-to-day operations and work with the CEO to strengthen infrastructure and expand capacity to serve more of those in need across our region.

Stef Arck-Baynes has more than 15 years of experience at mission-driven organizations developing and implementing solutions to fight hunger, provide financial equity, and increase access to social services. In her role, she will develop strategies to raise awareness of the 50-year-old nonprofit by bringing in more food, funds, and volunteers, through external communications, partnerships, and events. Stef was formerly with Philadelphia-based national nonprofit Benefits Data Trust and Philabundance.

With Martin Luther King, Jr. Day a week away, the newly formed leadership team seeks help on this crucial day of service — and beyond — to help meet the increased need for CFF’s services. Interested parties can sign up to help in the following ways:

  1. Cooking meals at home
  2. Delivering meals
  3. Making caring cards
  4. Donating food or funds

If you or someone you know needs food, please reach out for a referral at www.caringforfriends.org/contact-us.

To request an interview or more information, please contact Stef Arck Baynes at Stef@caringforfriends.org

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 volunteer organization and independent food bank serving greater Philadelphia. CFF provides food and friendship to homebound seniors, veterans, and those with disabilities; delivers meals to people facing homelessness; and donates food to more than 250 unserved and underserved neighborhoods. In 2021, CFF rescued, sourced, and distributed more than 12 million pounds of food.  Volunteer to cook meals, pack snacks, make deliveries or visit with clients at caringforfriends.org.

Caring for Friends

January 13, 2021 — PHILADELPHIA — COVID-19 and related unemployment has created an unprecedented need for emergency food relief, especially among the professionals who work in the restaurant, hospitality, and catering communities. Caring for Friends™ has activated its Caring Community Kitchen (2,000 sq. ft. professional kitchen) to share family-style and individual meals with those with self-declared need.

1,000 boxes of prepared meals will be shared at 5 sites across the City of Philadelphia with area restaurant workers and their families. This joint effort includes restaurant owners, workers, Chefs, Caring for Friends™ and food distributors. The meals will be prepared in Caring for Friends™ Caring Community Kitchen at 12271 Townsend Road, Philadelphia PA 19154. Caring for Friends’ Kitchen Manager, Abdellah Abdul Qawi is collaborating with noteworthy area Chefs like Sofia Deleon (of El Merkury) and Everybody Eats to create healthy and tasty recipes that our families in the restaurant industry will love. The effort hopes to reach, in particular, Latinix and Black workers and owners in the restaurant industry who have been hardest hit by sweeping unemployment.

Food for this unique give-back cooking event is being donated from a variety of sources including US Foods. “US Foods has a long-standing commitment to hunger-relief efforts across the United States,” says Bob Reusche of US Foods. “In fact, since March, US Foods has donated more than $35M in food and supplies to organizations like Caring For Friends across the country. Supporting our Philadelphia communities is a key area of focus for us and this is especially true during this unprecedented time when so many families are dealing with food insecurities brought on by the impacts of the pandemic.”

“We have never seen such a need in our 46-year history,” says Jeannette Fournier, Executive Director of Caring for Friends™. “Folks who used to volunteer in our kitchen now have need for our meals. No one could have predicted how hard the restaurant industry would be impacted by COVID-19. There is simply no safety net big enough to support all of restaurant workers and their families who have cooked for us across the City of Philadelphia. We hope this event will model the caring community we can be to get through this time.”

About Caring for Friends

Caring for Friends™, formerly known as Aid For Friends, is one of the largest food bank and most comprehensive prepared meal delivery programs in the 5-county Greater Philadelphia region. Caring for Friends typically serves thousands of meals and millions of pounds of groceries every month to seniors, kids and families. The organization also provides fresh, frozen and pantry stable food to faith organizations and community nonprofits to fill their community pantries and support their community feeding programs. https://caringforfriends.org/

Media Contact: Jeannette Fournier // jfournier@caringforfriends.org // 202-295-7926

Caring for Friends

We are excited to announce that Aid For Friends will now be known as Caring For Friends.

For over 45 years, Caring for Friends (formerly Aid For Friends) has been delivering meals and friendship to seniors and isolated individuals throughout the greater Philadelphia area. This work is driven by our mission to alleviate the hunger and loneliness of our neighbors, who are often homebound and sometimes disabled. We will never stop doing this critical work, but for years now, we have also been doing so much more. Our new name, CaringforFriends, captures the breadth and depth of what we provide to our client friends and what our client friends mean to us.

Since our founding in 1974, Caring for Friends volunteers have served over 15 million meals to more than 14,000 individuals. As we celebrate our 45th anniversary, we have chosen a name that reflects our reinvigorated identity, captures what we have done all along, and adds recognition of the enormity of what our volunteers do to combat isolation and loneliness.

Same Mission, Same Organization

Caring for Friends is known for doing a lot with a little. Our small staff supports thousands of volunteers who work hard to honor the dignity of every individual. The friendship aspect is just as important as the delivery of meals. Volunteers spend quality time visiting their homebound clients when they deliver meals each week. Thisleadstodeep and beautiful bonds between the Caring for Friends volunteer visitors and their client friends, who become true friends. And our donors provide the funds, food, meal preparation, services, and transportation necessary to make all of this happen. In fact, every dollar donated to Caring for Friends generates more than $6 in free meals and services for our client friends.

Although the work we do has not hanged, our new name more accurately reflects the care that goes into everything we do and the mission of our organization. Our volunteers truly care about the people we are helping, who would otherwise be dealing with hunger or isolation. And we truly care about our volunteers, who have been sharing food and friendship with these new friends, making sure they are not only nourished but are also supported in other needs that might be present. Thank you so much for your interest and dedication to Caring for Friends. We couldn’t do this life-changing work without people like you who care.

About Caring for Friends

Caring for Friends™, formerly known as Aid For Friends, is one of the largest food bank and most comprehensive prepared meal delivery programs in the 5-county Greater Philadelphia region. Caring for Friends typically serves thousands of meals and millions of pounds of groceries every month to seniors, kids and families. The organization also provides fresh, frozen and pantry stable food to faith organizations and community nonprofits to fill their community pantries and support their community feeding programs. https://caringforfriends.org/

Media Contact: Jeannette Fournier // jfournier@caringforfriends.org // 202-295-7926