In Philadelphia, one in four people are “food insecure.” That means that 25 percent of the city’s population don’t have access to a reliable, affordable food source. Too many Philadelphia residents have to skip meals or seek out assistance to to keep food on the table.
To address this need, Drexel University’s Center for Hunger-Free Communities – part of the Dornsife School of Public Health – is partnering with Drexel’s Center for Hospitality & Sport Management, the Vetri Community Partnership, Giant Food Stores, and many others to open the EAT Café. Standing for “Everyone At the Table,” the EAT Café will be a location where anyone of any means can have a quality meal. Additionally, the Café, located at 3820 Lancaster Ave. in West Philadelphia, is the first of its kind to have the backing of a higher education institution.
“Opening October 26, the EAT Café is designed to be a place at a cross-roads of the community. A place where anyone can feel comfortable and welcome to enjoy a meal, no matter their ability to pay for it,” said Ms. Victoria Egan, deputy director of the Center for Hunger-Free Communities. “Too often, programs that serve people who are hungry can be very isolating. At the EAT Café, we hope to bring people together and create a space for them to connect.”
Most of the Café’s staff was hired from surrounding neighborhoods, including Mantua, West Powelton, and Powelton Village. Additionally, personnel from Drexel’s School of Hospitality and Sport Management will provide support to the café.
Daily donations of produce and bakery items will come from local grocery store and bakeries, to reduce food waste while supporting efforts to fight hunger.
While the project is designed to serve West Philadelphia and Philadelphia as a whole, the EAT Café team hopes they are creating a model that can be used in other places.
“If this is happening for the EAT Café, it can be done in every major city across the country,” said Mr. Donnell Jones-Craven, the Café’s general manager. “There are many big-name, urban places with universities that can support this. We have the opportunity to change the fabric of communities with this model of partnership, passion and purpose.”
Drexel press release: http://drexel.edu/dornsife/news/latest-news/2016/October/EAT_Cafe_Opening/