Here's where people in need can get free food in Philadelphia during COVID-19 pandemic

By KYW Newsradio 1060

UPDATED: 3 p.m.

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — With businesses closed, many are not getting paid, Philadelphia is expanding its free food program to help families in need during the coronavirus outbreak.

There are 20 sites throughout Philadelphia where families can get a five-day supply of produce, dry and canned goods. This is in addition to the free meals the city and school district have already been giving students. The city has a map of food distribution sites online.

These 20 sites are open Mondays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to noon:

  • People's Emergency Center, 3750 Lancaster Ave. (19104)
  • Upper Room Baptist Church, 7236 Ogontz Ave. (19138)
  • Opportunity, Inc., 5900 Lansdowne Ave. (19151)
  • Christ Church South Philly , 229 Moore St. (19148)
  • Mitchell Elementary School, 5500 Kingsessing Ave. (19143)
  • Resurgence Church, 1738 West Atlantic St. (19140)
  • West Kensington Ministry, 2140 N Hancock St. (19122)
  • Dare 2 Imagine Church, 6610 Anderson St. (19119)
  • Shekinah SDA, 531 Chew Ave. (19120)
  • Association of Former Gang Members, 1631 W Susquehanna Ave. (19121)
  • Keep the Faith Ministries, 1906 Harrison St. (19124)
  • Parkside Association, 1719 N. 52nd St. (19131)
  • Richard and Friends, 1916 E Venango St. (19134)
  • Triumph Baptist Church, 1648 W Hunting Park Ave.
  • Giving Heart Ministries, 6506 Elmwood Ave. (19142)
  • SEAMAAC, 1711 S Broad St. (19148)
  • Overbrook West Neighbors (OWN), 5925 Lancaster Ave. (19151)
  • Iglesia Cristiana Avivamiento, 5500 Tabor Rd. (19120)
  • Mizpah SDA, 4355 Paul St. (19124)
  • Christian Compassion CDC, 6100 Cedar Ave. (19143)

However, there is evidence that there is already not enough to meet the need. At a site in Overbrook mon Monday morning, demand was so great, volunteers ran out of food quickly, and the site was picked clean within a half-hour.

There was a long line of people outside Crest Auto on Lancaster Ave. One by one, each walked up to the big garage door and picked up one cardboard box.

"We’ve been working around the clock to make sure that we’re getting these boxes put together and getting them out to the communities," said George Matysik, executive director of the Share Food program, which is working with fellow nonprofit Philabundance and the city, to run the pick-up sites.

"We have a lot of people who have become unemployed for the last three or four weeks, so we know we need to serve anybody that comes to us and says they need food assistance," he said.And this particular location, Gregory Allen with the Overbrook West Neighbors CDC, helped organize, knowing it was risky to even be there."There’s a little bit of fear that goes into being here, trying to help people," he said. "But that fear is a motivator for us, knowing that we’re gonna be helping our neighbors."

The city’s Managing Director Brian Abernathy, in a live interview on KYW Monday morning, said no ID or proof of income is needed, and each household gets a full box.

"A little bit of produce. Some dry goods, some canned goods. Enough food to last for three meals for five days for a family," he said.

"It's about how do we provide for the least fortunate who are struggling, given the economic distress that this virus has caused, and how can we as a city give back and make sure folks have their essentials."

City officials plan to announce additional food distribution sites this week.