Celebrating One Year of OCCCDA Food Box Distributions
OCCCDA staff members and volunteers getting ready to serve the community with canned goods, produce, pasta, and more.
In the summer of 2020, the Oxford Circle Christian Community Development Association established a food distribution program to combat food insecurity in our neighborhood. Not only did this program support families in need, but it also purchased products from local markets that were hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. Throughout the past year, OCCCDA has supported our community through this program with the help of partnering organizations such as the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC), the Northeast Philadelphia Chinese Association (NEPCA), Small Things, M&T Bank, Share Food, and Philabundance. We are grateful to receive a grant from William Penn Foundation’s Family Recovery Fund for Pandemic relief efforts to continue our food distribution into next year.
As a special thank-you to all of our generous volunteers, staff members, and donors like you, here is a look back on the food distribution program throughout the past year from OCCCDA employee, Billy Rodebaugh.
How it all began: OCCCDA opened our first site for the food box distribution program at our main office (900 E. Howell St.) with the help of MCC in the summer of 2020. After about three weeks of distributions, Pastor Gabriel Wang-Herrera helped us partner with Small Things and work closely with Barbara Delp to establish a regular routine for the food distribution program. Shortly after, OCCCDA opened our second location at The Exchange Thrift Store with the help of NEPCA’s project director, Pearl Huynh and partnership with the Share Food Program. At these two distribution sites, OCCCDA staff and volunteers worked hard on Tuesdays and Thursdays throughout the summer and into December 2020 to prepare the food boxes, maintain the long lines, and successfully distribute food boxes to families in need.
2021 and beyond: After The Exchange Thrift store closed in April of 2021, OCCCDA was fortunate enough to partner with M&T Bank to begin a new food distribution site at the bank. Today, both locations continue to provide boxes full of canned goods, fruits and vegetables, pasta, and more every Thursday. As our community recovers from the hardships of the pandemic, these weekly encounters between our neighbors and staff have been a source of encouragement and a chance to build trusting relationships that we hope to keep even after the financial strain subsides.