Philadelphia, PA (January 26, 2021) – On Tuesday, January 26, 2021, Bebashi – Transition to Hope hosted “A Community Conversation on Hunger in Philadelphia,” the first of a series of virtual events that will touch on topics that affect our Philadelphia communities.
The discussion was moderated by NBC10 anchor and reporter Stephanía Jiménez and panelists included Sebrina Tate, Director of Programs and Administration, Bebashi – Transition to Hope; Stephen Michelone, Continuity Manager, Pennsylvania Department of Human Services; Samantha Mogil, Community Impact Director, American Heart Association; and Crashell Allen, Program Coordinator, Dean of Students Office, Temple University.
Although food insecurity has long since been a challenge in Philadelphia, the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated this issue and has changed the face of hunger.
“Hunger looks like every single person that is sitting on this call,” said Samantha Mogil. “We really need to move away from stigmatizing hunger and recognize that many of us are just one paycheck or one emergency away from requiring food assistance.”
Noting that Bebashi’s food pantry use has doubled since the start of the pandemic, Sebrina Tate highlighted the organization’s ability to become creative to ensure people have access to the food they need, despite their unique challenges or the restrictions that were in place.
“One of the things we see is that some folks don’t have kitchens … to fix their food, so we have created ready meals so that people could have … nutritious items that they can eat, without having to prepare it,” said Tate. As a result of COVID, “we [also] couldn’t invite people into our organization to get food, and … to remain safe, we’ve had to get creative with how we serve food.”
Tate also acknowledged that Bebashi’s success in making food accessible has also depended on human resources, having enough volunteers and staff to distribute the food or information.
The event was hosted with the aim of bringing light to an issue that affects more than 257,000 Philadelphians and to talk about what changes are needed to achieve sustainability.
Speaking on some of the unmet challenges when dealing with unique cultural needs, as well as funding limitations, Stephen Michelone underscored the importance of developing partnerships with other organizations “to make sure we have those individual resources that are needed to meet the very unique needs of our communities.”
Moving forward, Bebashi intends to host more community conversations to further engage the public and push for an end to food insecurity and other socio-economic disparities.
To learn more about Bebashi and upcoming events, visit bebashi.org or call 215-769-3561.
In case you missed it, you can view the entire conversation below.
Bebashi – Transition to Hope
Phone: (215) 769-3561 ext. 159