Episode 100: Food Insecurity in Philadelphia: Loree Jones Brown’s Mission to Feed Half a Million People
Welcome to another episode of the Coolink Solution Show. I’m your host, James Russeau, Sr., and in this post, I’ll be sharing insights from my recent conversation with Loree Jones Brown, the CEO of Philabundance. We discussed the nationwide campaign, Hunger Action Month, and delved into Loree’s personal journey, her leadership style, and the incredible work Philabundance is doing to combat food insecurity.
Hunger Action Month and Loree’s Personal Journey
September is Hunger Action Month, a nationwide campaign aimed at ending hunger in the United States. It’s a cause close to my heart, and I was thrilled to have Loree on the show to discuss it. Loree, with her extensive experience in nonprofit, higher education, and government sectors, is a force to be reckoned with in this fight.
During our conversation, Loree shared a personal aspect of her life that many don’t know about – her ongoing spiritual journey. She’s been exploring fasting and improving her prayer life, a testament to her transparency and authenticity.
Lori’s Commitment to Public Service
Loree’s commitment to public service is deeply rooted in her upbringing. Her birthday coincides with Martin Luther King Jr.’s, and she grew up in a family of educators, attending schools that emphasized women’s leadership. These factors have shaped her dedication to serving others.
She was drawn to Philabundance because of its commitment to ending hunger and addressing the root causes of food insecurity. She spoke passionately about Philabundance’s workforce development program and collaborations with partners to tackle health and other issues related to hunger.
Food Insecurity: A Closer Look
Loree provided a sobering context to the hunger problem in Philadelphia and across the country. Philabundance operates a food bank in nine counties across two states, working with over 350 partners, including churches, mosques, synagogues, schools, and social services centers. These partners are the “boots on the ground,” connecting with people in need.
One such partner is the Upper Room Church, which does food distribution five days a week, serving 80 to 90 people each day, and 300 seniors. As a food bank, Philabundance acts as a repository for donated food, receiving donations from individuals, big grocery store chains, and warehouse food providers. They also purchase a significant amount of food, especially fresh produce, fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and dairy, with 95% of the food they purchase being healthy.
Addressing Food Waste and Promoting Nutritious Food
Loree highlighted that Philabundance was initially founded as a food rescue organization, aiming to rescue food that would otherwise go to waste. She shared a startling statistic: if half of the food thrown out in the country was saved, it could feed everyone.
Philabundance is also committed to providing nutritious and culturally diverse food to those in need. They are challenging themselves to source their food equitably, purchasing from local farmers, minority-owned, and women-owned farmers whenever possible. They are also improving access to food by offering home delivery and extending their hours of operation to accommodate working families.
Leading with Transparency and Compassion
I shared a personal leadership experience that involved making a difficult decision that affected my team. When faced with the challenge of relocating my team, I chose to be transparent and honest, which surprisingly, many team members appreciated. This experience taught me the importance of open and honest conversations in leadership.
##Conclusion In conclusion, Lori’s leadership at Philabundance and her commitment to public service are truly inspiring. Her dedication to combating hunger, promoting nutritious food, and leading with transparency and compassion are lessons we can all learn from. As we continue to observe Hunger Action Month, let’s take action by donating or becoming advocates for hunger relief.
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Loree’s Spiritual Journey [00:01:20] Loree shares her personal spiritual journey, including fasting and improving her prayer life.
Loree’s Commitment to Public Service [00:02:21] Loree discusses her commitment to public service and the influence of her upbringing and education.
Philabundance’s Mission and Programs [00:04:26] Loree explains how Philabundance is committed to ending hunger and addresses the root causes of food insecurity through various programs.
The distribution network [00:08:34] Discussion on the distribution network of Philabundance and how it operates through partnerships with various organizations.
Food waste and food rescue [00:10:13] Exploration of the amount of food wasted and how Philabundance started as a food rescue organization to address this issue.
Nutritious meals and addressing food insecurity [00:14:47] Focus on the importance of providing nutritious food to vulnerable communities, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the development of a good food policy.
Hunger Action Month [00:16:58] Discussion on the importance of addressing hunger and advocating for government support through the farm bill and SNAP.
Feeding Our Communities [00:19:04] Highlighting the impact of feeding people on nourishing communities and supporting future generations.
Reassignments in the Workplace [00:20:54] Exploration of the trend of reassigning employees to different roles and the potential motivations behind it.
The impact of office relocation [00:23:49] Discussion about the challenges and reactions to the decision to relocate the office to Delaware.
Encouraging transparent conversations [00:25:03] The importance of being transparent and honest as leaders, and how it helps in guiding employees to the right places.
Inviting feedback and questions [00:26:21] Encouragement for listeners to share their takeaways, ask questions, and provide feedback through various channels.