Face to Face: Battling Hunger in Germantown


It’s a typical Monday afternoon in Germantown. Young children are being released from school, so they can run home and turn on the television (or do homework). High school students from Central High School and the Philadelphia High School for Girls are racing to the bus stop or subway to get home, as well. For some residents of the Germantown area, they do not have a home or healthy food to eat, as most of these students do. That’s why there are many food pantries and churches involved in the Exploring Nutrition project, which helps deliver food to the unfortunate, who may not be able to consistently afford healthy food. One of these places is Face to Face.

Located at 109 E. Price Street in the Germantown section of North Philadelphia, Face to Face offers citizens of the area special services that they may not have themselves. The church-looking building is popular among the locals, who frequent the venue almost every day, even though the workers only serve meals Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday of each week. Besides providing the locals with food, Face to Face also has a health center, legal center, a social services center and a “Washeteria” section where people can take showers and receive a new pair of clothes. It also has After School programs for children living in the area, as well as a children’s summer camp. Face to Face does its best to help the people who need the most help in their area.

The aforementioned food pantry started out in 1985 as a soup kitchen, but over the years it developed into a multi-faceted organization. According to their website, the pantry serves more than 2,500 individuals each year. One of the cooks, Alternon, claims in the video shown below that he cooks for around 300 people every Sunday, as that is the day where most of the needy come to get a fresh meal.

The Germantown area needs many of these food pantries, due to the fact that the area is not one of the most healthy areas in Philadelphia. Germantown is one of the most poor sections of the city, so serving food to the locals four days a week is a big help. Face to Face’s website notes that about 26% of citizens living in this area live in deep poverty, which is the equivalent of making $5,400 a year per person. It is not easy for a person only making around $5,000 a year to be able to afford consistent food and attempt to live on their own. Face to Face recognizes this and lends them a hand with their excellent services.

A few experts in the field of nutrition from La Salle University weighed in on their opinions on hunger in the Germantown area. Tom Wingert, one of the heads of the Exploring Nutrition project, claimed that the organizations are doing a good job.

“You have a lot of organizations that try to feed hungry people,” he said.

Dr. Edie Goldbacher, assistant professor of Psychology at La Salle and supervisor of the Healthy Eating, Healthy Weight clinic, deals with weight and obesity. She noted that genetics and the environment both play a role in a person becoming obese.

“Genetics loads the gun, the environment pulls the trigger,” is what Goldbacher said, meaning that a person’s genes are the onset of obesity, but the environment which they live in is the factor that pushes them to become obese, due to the unhealthy food choices or lack of healthy food choices in that person’s area.

Professor Jule Anne Henstenburg, director of the Nutrition Program at La Salle, gave her two cents on the hunger issue by classifying the top three hungriest groups in America. Children, women and senior citizens were who Henstenburg claimed as being the hungriest people in our country. She also discussed the fact that the government not supplying poor citizens with enough SNAP benefits to eat healthy food is another problem.

The fight to cure hunger in Germantown looks to be a tough battle to fight, but organizations like Face to Face supply enough help that a good percentage of the locals get what they need. There will always be hunger in the world, that is for sure. But, with the help of food pantries and initiatives such as the Exploring Nutrition project, hunger will be a little less prevalent.