Philadelphia couple starts food distribution effort to tackle hunger insecurity during pandemic

KITCHENER (WPVI) – Mount Airy Groceries along Germantown Avenue in Philadelphia began as a grassroots action in early April.

What started on a porch and quickly turned into a donated shop front is now blooming.

The couple and the thought leaders behind them are Nicholas Freeman and Jessica Rights, both of whom were laid off from their catering jobs during the pandemic. Now they are using their industry knowledge to tackle food insecurity.

“The downside of food shortages is food waste, which is also a major problem,” Freeman said.

Mount Airy Groceries is volunteer based.

Freeman and Rights receive food donations from wholesalers such as Philly Food Works. The food is then delivered to charities such as Germantown Face to Face and the Philadelphia Interfaith Hospitality Network. These organizations distribute the food or volunteers hand it in directly.

Mount Airy Groceries serves 100 to 400 families each week. People can come straight into the store. Many customers are directly affected by the pandemic.

The charity helps them avoid risky situations like shopping for groceries.

“I noticed how many people were very stressed because suddenly people who had access to food realized they no longer had the access they had before,” said Jessica Rights.

The couple plan to keep operations going for as long as possible.

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