Hunger is a huge issue in the United States. In fact, some of the biggest issues in Philadelphia is the amount of hunger in the majority of the city’s communities. Much of this is accompanied by the poverty rate in Pennsylvania as a whole, which is almost at a scary 12.5 million people according to the Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger.
The Exploring Nutrition Project was founded by La Salle University to help fight this issue. Their mission is “to create a model by which urban universities can, in partnership with local businesses, community organizations, and religious institutions, utilize collective resources and expertise to have a positive impact on their neighborhood’s health and nutritional well-being”.
The chairwoman of Integrative studies at La Salle University, Dr. Marjie Allen, wanted to make La Salle a forefront for combating hunger in the city of Philadelphia, showing how much they actually care.
A huge conflict with combating hunger in Philadelphia is the unavailability and lack of fresh food at local, neighborhood grocery stores.
“Fresh produce is extremely expensive,” Allen said. “The average family income in our neighborhood is $24,000.”
La Salle did its part, however, giving the Olney community the Fresh Grocer, which is located at the Shoppes at La Salle and is an integral part of the La Salle community, for students and local neighbors.
With Fresh Grocer recently being acquired by ShopRite and other big-name companies, the local grocery store has finally got completely fresh food throughout its entire store. Students in La Salle LGU capstone (Leadership and Global Understanding) also try to help the neighborhood out with their work in the community.
Over the last few years, nearly 80 La Salle students, faculty, and staff members collected 3,600 pounds of fresh fruit and vegetables, which they distributed among 15 community partners, feeding more than 2,000 people. They raised more than $5,000 through contributions and various fundraisers, with generous help from Fresh Grocer and Beneficial Bank.
There is so much more that these men and women do on and off campus. In fact, they work in local churches and service centers to help men and women who are hungry and in need. These efforts are exactly what the ‘La Sallian Way’ is all about. The Exploring Nutrition Project at La Salle University is doing its best part to combat hunger in Philadelphia and stay afloat throughout the local community.