On Friday, Oct. 5, Federation broke the wall on a revolutionary new food pantry on the grounds of the Klein JCC. Roy Neff, one of the lead donors for the project along with his wife, Lyn, Laurie Franz and Joy and Bennett Kaiser, took a hammer to the old racquetball court at the JCC, officially beginning construction of the Choice Food Program.
When the project is completed next summer, low-income residents in Northeast Philadelphia will use state-of-the-art digital technology to choose the foods that meet their dietary needs and food preferences utilizing virtual vouchers. Computers are key to keeping inventory current and reflective of client food preferences.
“There will be an opportunity for people to order, through touch-screen computers, fresh fruits and vegetables and meats, canned goods and packaged food,” said Federation CEO Ira M. Schwartz, adding that, when completed, “the Choice Food Program will transform Federation’s Mitzvah Food Project pantry at Klein into a state-of-the-art food distribution model, which will feed far more people and provide better nutrition, put scarce pantry resources to more efficient use, while respecting the dignity of those who are facing food insecurities.”
Schwartz explained that a nutritionist will be available for client consultations “so the incentive is really for people to eat healthier foods.”
Those who are homebound can order items by phone or by computer and have it delivered.
Schwartz expects the new facility will be a model for other cities and countries.
To follow the progress of the Choice Food Program construction, visit: jewishphilly.org or call Brian Gralnick, director of Federation’s Center for Social Responsibility at 215-832-0850.