Congresswoman Scanlon and House Committee on Rules’ Chairman McGovern Meet with Philadelphia-Area Experts and Residents to Discuss Innovative Solutions to Ending Hunger in America

Philadelphia, PA – Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon (PA-05) and Congressman James P. McGovern (MA-02), Chairman of the House Committee on Rules and Co-Chair of House Hunger Caucus, visited several locations in Philadelphia and Upper Darby on Friday, June 18 as part of a day-long tour focused on ending hunger in America. 

The tour centered around a roundtable held at Bartram’s Garden, where Rep. Scanlon and Chairman McGovern, joined by Rep. Dwight Evans (PA-03), met with nine local participants to discuss the impact of food insecurity in the Philadelphia area and the challenges that prevent too many people from accessing healthy food. Reps. Scanlon, McGovern, and Evans heard from individuals, organizations, and local governments representatives about the innovative work that is being done to address food insecurity in the region. They asked questions about local efforts to address hunger, and explored how the challenges and successes seen in the Philadelphia region can inform federal policymaking.

Roundtable participants included: Cynthia Figueroa, Deputy Mayor, City of Philadelphia Office of Children and Families; Loree D. Jones, CEO, Philabundance; Iliana Garcia, Manager, Food Pharmacy at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia; Allison Karpyn, Co-Director, University of Delaware at the Center for Research in Education and Social Policy (CRESP) and Associate Professor in the Department of the Human Development and Family Sciences at the University of Delaware; Thoai Nguyen, CEO, SEAMAAC; Desiree Lamarr-Murphy, Founder and CEO, Murphy’s Giving Market; Chris Bolden-Newsome and Ty Holmberg, Co-Directors, Sankofa Community Farm at Bartram’s Garden; and Tiguida Kaba, Crew Member, Rebel Ventures.

Reps. Scanlon, McGovern, and Evans asked panelists about their boots-on-the-ground work to combat hunger. The conversation spanned a range of topics including, supply chain challenges, urban agriculture, emergency food distribution, culturally competent food, workforce development, food deserts, and food waste.

“Well before the COVID-19 pandemic, food insecurity was a pervasive problem in my district, and the events of the past year have only exacerbated the issue of hunger for my constituents,” said Rep. Scanlon. “Local organizations that have long fought hunger in the Philadelphia region stepped up once again to meet this incredible demand, but they cannot do this work alone — nor should they have to. Our country has every resource required to eradicate hunger, it is simply a matter of having the fortitude to fight for it. That’s why I’m joining Chairman McGovern in calling for a substantive, policy-focused White House conference on hunger to create the roadmap to end hunger by 2030. We can and must make the decision to end hunger in America now. I’m grateful for Chairman McGovern’s leadership on this issue and look forward to our continued work together to build a hunger-free America.” 

“I thank my friend and Rules Committee colleague Rep. Scanlon for inviting me to her district. Sitting in a committee room and hearing about innovations is no match for going on the ground and seeing them firsthand. This visit reinforced that we have the know-how and ability to end hunger, we just need to build the political will. What we learned will be invaluable as we build a record to inform an eventual White House hunger conference,” said Chairman McGovern.

In addition to the roundtable, Rep. Scanlon and Chairman McGovern also visited Multicultural Community Family Services, MANNA’s facility and commercial kitchen, and Reading Terminal Market. Rep. Evans joined them again at MANNA and Reading Terminal.

Multicultural Community Family Services (MCFS) is a community based, nonprofit organization located in Upper Darby which provides social, educational, and individualized support services to at-risk immigrant individuals, children, youth, and families. At MCFS, Rep. Scanlon and Chairman McGovern viewed the Calabash food pantry, which has been operational since the beginning of the pandemic and offers a number of culturally specific foods for the area’s African immigrants.

MANNA cooks and delivers nutritious meals to neighbors in the Philadelphia area who are battling a serious illness. The organization leads in evidence-based nutrition services, bringing together dietitians, chefs, drivers, and thousands of volunteers to cook and deliver nutritious, medically appropriate meals. The organization is also advancing research in the field of “food is medicine,” which quantifies the health care impact of a medically tailored meal program on individuals with serious illnesses. 

Reading Terminal Market is one of America’s largest and oldest public markets, offering a wide variety of fresh produce, meats and poultry, and more. The market is also reported to process more SNAP benefits than nearly any other shopping site in Pennsylvania. 

As Rep. Scanlon and Chairman McGovern continue pushing for the eradication of hunger in America, they want to hear from people with relevant experience. Academics with new research, organizations with an innovative concept, families experiencing food insecurity, and others are encouraged to share their stories here

View photos from the day here. Credit for each image is included in the file name.


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