The Jewish Federation’s Mitzvah Food Program Partners With DoorDash

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A volunteer from Mitzvah Food Program’s Thanksgiving meal distribution in 2021. The Jewish Federation’s Mitzvah Food Program began a partnership with DoorDash earlier in 2022 to help make deliveries, including holiday packages, to food-insecure individuals and families. Courtesy of Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia

Most people use DoorDash to order forgotten lunches, last-minute dinners or late-night cookies.

This year, the food delivery company is teaming up with the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia’s Mitzvah Food Program to serve up something different: Thanksgiving meals for those in need.

As part of an ongoing partnership, the two organizations are ensuring that everyone is able to have a table filled with nutritious food for the holidays and all year long.


“With nearly a third of our city’s population experiencing food insecurity in 2021, it is our mission to expand our reach to help alleviate the issues facing this most basic human need,” explained Whitney Drukier, Mitzvah Food Program operations manager. “Partnerships like the DoorDash deliveries help our clients by getting to these communities as quickly as we can.”

Fueling this relationship, DoorDash provided the Mitzvah Food Program with an initial one-year, in-kind donation of $100,000 in services. The initiative officially began on April 25 and has already made 1,126 deliveries, totaling more than 22,520 pounds of food.

The ability to deliver groceries addresses two key barriers for people experiencing food insecurity: transportation and privacy. DoorDash deliveries are discreetly made within a 10-mile radius of two of the Mitzvah Food Program’s four pantries: the Main Line location at the JFCS – Barbara and Harvey Brodsky Enrichment Center and the Northeast location at the KleinLife building.

“We are honored to partner with the Mitzvah Food Program to broaden food access,” said Kelly Jones, DoorDash Drive director of government and nonprofit. “Local delivery has helped support food pantries’ provision of food and other essentials while emphasizing convenience and dignity to meet the need in a long-term, sustainable way.”

This partnership proved to be especially needed during the summer, a time of year when volunteering is traditionally at its lowest. In lieu of volunteer drivers, DoorDash was able to step in and deliver an average of 175 parcels per month from May to August.

While volunteer engagement is expected to rise during the winter holidays, DoorDash’s aid will remain an essential resource for the Mitzvah Food Program through the colder months ahead. This is due to the program’s increase in clients, including the influx of Ukrainian refugees, who are now settling in the Northeast and require food assistance.

“With the growing need of these refugees, our social workers will be able to have a further reach in these impoverished communities while DoorDash provides the means to deliver these much-needed food supplies,” Drukier said.

The current increase in need comes off the heels of last year, when 1,060,742 pounds of nutritious, kosher food was distributed to 6,530 clients.

Unlike many food relief agencies, the Mitzvah Food Program’s clients are able to choose from fresh and frozen groceries as well as non-perishable goods. This choice-based structure uses a point system that incentivizes clients to select more nutritious items when placing their orders.

Aside from providing food, the Mitzvah Food Program hopes to make a greater impact by offering increased social services to its clientele. In a holistic approach to hunger, the staff helps clients apply for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as SNAP, benefits, and sign up for other food insecurity programs, like JRA and KleinLife’s Meals on Wheels. Since many of the clients are Russian immigrants, the program employs two Russian-speaking social workers at the Northeast pantry to offer additional support.

Twenty-six years after its inception, the Mitzvah Food Program has upheld its commitment to helping all who are hungry, regardless of race, religion or financial background. Now, with the help of DoorDash, the longstanding program will be able to expand its goal of relieving food insecurity and creating the opportunity for clients to focus on other aspects of their lives.

“Relieving the worries of our food supply means we can focus on regaining our physical strengths,” said Jean and Jason Lovell, clients of the Main Line pantry who receive Mitzvah Food Program deliveries twice a month from DoorDash. “We now have the freedom to join the senior center and participate in the activities offered there. We’re extremely grateful to the Mitzvah Food Program for its continuous contributions and compassion.”

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For more information about the Mitzvah Food Program, visit jewishphilly.org/mfp, email mitzvahfoodprogram@jewishphilly.org or call 215-832-0509.

 

 

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