Bebashi-Transition to Hope Provides Food to Families in Need with the Restart of its Willard Elementary Food Pantry



Philadelphia, PA (September 11, 2020) – With the start of the new school year, Bebashi -Transition to Hope is continuing its work to eliminate food insecurity in Philadelphia. On Friday, September 11, the nonprofit organization celebrated the restart of its food pantry based at Frances E. Willard Elementary School, one of three food pantries operated within Philadelphia’s schools by Bebashi, to serve students and their families.

Throughout the day, Bebashi’s staff distributed a variety of nutritious food items, in bags donated by Aetna Better Health, to those from the school’s community who needed it the most.

“It’s such a wonderful feeling to be able to return to serving our communities to ensure that no Philadelphian goes hungry,” said Janice Tosto, Health Enterprise Zone (HEZ) Project Coordinator.

The pantry at Willard Elementary originally opened in February 2020 and, before the COVID-19 pandemic, served approximately fifty families from the school per week. Unfortunately, the pandemic forced the temporary suspension of this service, but families and school administrators are excited and grateful for the pantry’s reopening.

“Several of our school’s families are struggling to make ends meet, particularly as a result of the pandemic, and to not have to worry about how they will feed their loved ones, provides some much needed relief,” said Teresa Bronte, School Counselor at Willard Elementary.

The school food pantries are a part of Bebashi’s HEZ program through which the organization aims to improve the lives of people living in poverty in HEZ designated zip codes, specifically through hunger relief initiatives and one-to-one resource navigation.

“Bebashi is so much more than just HIV. During our 35 years of serving our communities we have expanded our services and programs to address, directly, the critical needs of those who, traditionally, have been underserved,” said Sebrina Tate, Bebashi’s Director of Programs and Administration.

Bebashi expects to restart its other school food pantries later in the school year and is working on adding a fourth school to its program.

To learn more about Bebashi’s hunger relief efforts, visit


About Bebashi – Transition to Hope

Bebashi -Transition to Hope is a nonprofit that was founded as a full-service HIV/AIDS organization with special interest in serving low-income people of color with HIV disease. As the second-oldest AIDS service organization in the Philadelphia region, Bebashi was the first African American organization in the United States to address the HIV/AIDS pandemic. It remains one of Philadelphia’s largest community-based minority providers of HIV/AIDS education and services for the urban community.

Bebashi’s purpose is to empower people to enhance the quality of their health and overall well-being by providing access to culturally sensitive high-quality healthcare to economically challenged individuals and families. Since its inception in 1985, the organization has expanded to address other health disparities impacting the community. Bebashi’s services also include hunger relief, breast health education, primary medical care and criminal justice.

Media Contact:

Jude-Anne Spencer-Phillip
Communications Specialist
Bebashi – Transition to Hope
Phone:  (215) 769-3561 ext. 159

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