Food Pantry Delivers Easter Baskets
David Stier, Assistant Director, Community Relations, and other staffers from Nutritional Development Services (NDS), don’t typically shop for jellybeans and Easter baskets when stocking an agency food pantry. But this week, NDS will fill in for the Easter Bunny and deliver 145 Easter baskets to childcare facilities in Philadelphia. The baskets, provided by an anonymous donor, will be bursting with Easter Eggs, candy, and books.
Hundreds of thousands of men, women, and children in our community go without enough food to eat. Many parents struggle to put nutritious food on the table. These parents are not likely to spend their food budgets on baskets of jellybeans and chocolate bunnies. That’s where the NDS Easter baskets come in.
NDS is bridging the gap between eating for sustenance and eating for the sheer joy of it. Who hasn’t experienced the joy of devouring a soft marshmallow chicken coated in bright yellow sugar? For the average child, (and more than a few adults) that sweet soft chicken is pure joy!
The easter basket drop-off happens during Holy Week, April 12 through Easter Sunday.
Mission to Feed the Hungry
For forty-six years, the focus and mission of NDS, an agency of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, has been to provide healthy, nutritious, and flavorful food to children and others in need.
NDS accomplishes its mission in two distinct ways. The agency administers the federally-funded Child Nutrition programs. They also provide food services through the privately supported Community Food Program.
NDS also provides nutritious and hot meals for men, women, and children in emergency shelters and residences. Additionally, the agency staffs four Senior Community Centers. Located throughout Philadelphia, the centers offer nutritional support and other assistance to an aging population in need. The work is accomplished through a partnership with the Philadelphia Corporation for Aging.
NDS operates food pantries throughout the region at their Community Service Centers. The centers serve thousands of families and provide more than a million pounds of food each month. Martha’s Choice Marketplace, the largest of the food pantries, also operates a community farm at the former St. Gabriel’s Hall.
The dignity, self-respect and personhood of those needing help is just as important as food. Toward that end, NDS takes an holistic approach to food security. They provide education, counseling and opportunities for empowerment to the people they serve.
Delivering Easter Joy
This week, the focus of NDS is shifting, just a little, in recognition of the fact that food is not just about nutrition. It’s not just about the food pyramid and dietary guidelines. Sometimes, especially around holidays, food is about faith, family, community, and belonging. It’s about experiencing joy, even though we suffer.
And joy is the point.
Easter is the celebration of the resurrection of Christ, and redemption, and deliverance from suffering. At Easter, and throughout the year, we are called to experience the sweetness of God’s unconditional love for us amid our pain, our suffering, and our lack.
When we give to others, with attention, love, food or sweetness, we demonstrate God’s love for us. When we hand a child an Easter basket, we do the same.