JBJ Soul Foundation Supports Partner Organizations Stepping Up To Feed Philadelphians Experiencing Homelessness During Crisis

Step Up to the Plate is a city-wide initiative to feed and provide health services to individuals experiencing homelessness in Philadelphia during the COVID-19 pandemic. JBJ Soul Foundation is proud to support and partner with Step Up to the Plate by providing a $100,000 grant to help fund this cause.

“JBJ Soul Foundation remains committed to helping the homeless community in Philadelphia,” said Craig A. Spencer, Vice-Chairman, JBJ Soul Foundation. “Our partnership with Step Up to the Plate, along with many other companies and organizations in this great city, will provide in-need individuals and families access to basic necessities during this unprecedented time including food, medical care, personal hygiene stations and COVID-19 resources and support.”

If you would like to make a donation to Step Up to the Plate, click HERE

PHILADELPHIA – April 16, 2020 – There is a crisis of hunger in our city. The impact that COVID-19 is having on our most vulnerable neighbors, individuals experiencing homelessness, is seen in the ever-increasing numbers of people needing access to food and medical care throughout Philadelphia. It has become clear to the City of Philadelphia, and to many of the organizations serving this population, that a larger and more coordinated effort is necessary to address this growing need and continue providing food and services in a healthy and safe environment.

Step Up to the Plate, a collaborative effort of Broad Street Ministry, Project HOME, and Prevention Point Philadelphia, is a central part of the City’s efforts to address this challenge. These organizations are working closely with the Office of Homeless Services to secure two large outdoor sites, allowing meal services to continue while maintaining appropriate social distancing guidelines. These sites are the North Apron of City Hall (located near Project HOME’s Hub of Hope outdoor medical clinic), and an outdoor lot at the intersection of East Clearfield and Ruth Streets in Kensington, near Prevention Point Philadelphia. 

Three local catering companies – Catering by Design, 12th Street Catering, and Herb Scott Catering – will provide meals at cost. By collaborating with catering companies, Step Up to the Plate allows its partners to turn their focus towards staffing, logistical, and care concerns for their guests. The current projection is to serve 1,000 takeaway packaged meals per day (each package containing lunch and dinner, for a total of 2,000 meals provided per day) and to be operational by the end of the week of April 13.

In addition, Wawa has agreed to donate 1,400 meals a week to St. Johns Hospice and Face to Face shelter partners, equating to a total of nearly 10,000 meals during the seven-week initiative.

“It is critically important for the nonprofit, government, philanthropic, and private sectors to be coming together at this moment to address the needs of our neighbors struggling with deep poverty, homelessness, and hunger,” said Mike Dahl, Executive Director of Broad Street Ministry. “The Step Up to the Plate campaign represents the very best of what we can accomplish as the City of Brotherly Love. Broad Street Ministry is proud and humbled to be standing shoulder to shoulder with all of our partners in this effort and we look forward to inviting many others to join us.”

“When a moment like this happens, it’s so important that we all come together to find a solution for those in need,” says Sister Mary Scullion, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Project HOME. “We’re honored to be working with Broad Street Ministry, Prevention Point, Mural Arts, and other partners to coordinate getting food and medical care, at this critical time, to our brothers and sisters on our city’s streets.”

“In this extraordinary time, Prevention Point Philadelphia is pleased to further extend its reach in the community of Kensington to help feed hundreds of people a day through the Step Up to the Plate initiative,” said Jose Benetiz, Executive Director of Prevention Point Philadelphia. “We are so grateful for the partnership of so many organizations and companies, along with the City of Philadelphia, to make an extraordinary difference in our community.”

At the City Hall site, the food distribution will be provided by Broad Street Ministry staff. In Kensington, food distribution will be provided by Prevention Point Philadelphia staff and volunteers. At both sites, COVID-19-related health care services and resources will be available for those experiencing homelessness. In Center City, Project HOME’s Hub of Hope staff will provide services. In Kensington, services will be provided by Prevention Point Philadelphia with assistance from Philadelphia FIGHT.

Mural Arts Philadelphia will provide beautifully designed vinyl Space Pads for the ground to encourage safe distancing during service, along with banners and other public signage. Each Space Pad has been designed by one of four different Mural Arts artists and combines beauty with helpful public health facts related to COVID-19. Over 700 14” x 14” outdoor vinyl decals were installed for just the Center City site. More will be added in Kensington. 

Step Up to the Plate is a partnership of Broad Street Ministry, Prevention Point Philadelphia, Project HOME, and the City of Philadelphia Office of Homeless Services. Catering partners are Catering by Design, 12th Street Catering, Herb Scott Catering, and The Wawa Foundation. Additional partners are Mural Arts Philadelphia, Muslims Serve, and Center City District. Funding for Step Up to the Plate is provided by Connelly Foundation, The Daniel B. and Florence E. Green Foundation, Haas Charitable Trust, Hummingbird Foundation, Independence Foundation, JBJ Soul Foundation, Philadelphia Health Partnership, Philadelphia Foundation, the PHL COVID-19 Fund, and William Penn Foundation.

Broad Street Ministry is a broad-minded faith community with an aspiration to create a more just world through civic engagement. Project HOME empowers individuals to break the cycle of poverty and homelessness through affordable housing, employment, health care, and education. Prevention Point Philadelphia is a non-profit public health and social services organization that works to reduce the harms associated with drug use. By working together, in concert with City of Philadelphia leadership, these organizations believe they can provide a higher level of necessary service to our city’s most vulnerable citizens and increase the likelihood of effective social distancing. To get involved with Step Up to the Plate, reach out to  kfritz@independencefoundation.org.