Citing the need to improve access to food for the city’s hungry, Mayor Michael Nutter on Tuesday named members of a special commission called the Philadelphia Food Access Collaborative.
“No Philadelphian should go hungry when resources and dedicated volunteers who are willing and able to help are present,” Nutter said in a statement.
The mayor created the 18-member collaborative board with an executive order signed Tuesday. Members are charged with six goals.
First, Nutter asked that they increase the availability of meals at existing indoor sites where meals are served. To that end, members are supposed to put together an inventory of groups that run the sites and assess their needs in an effort to increase the number of indoor options.
Second, the collaborative was asked to coordinate meal schedules to eliminate gaps in service with a schedule that includes indoor and outdoor sites and make that information public.
The third charge was for the board to find space for places that outdoor programs can be moved indoors. Members were also asked to make sure that people who need food have easy access, as well as access to other social services they may need at the sites where they receive meals.
Finally, Nutter asked the collaborative to put together an annual report on its activities and the overall state of emergency food access in Philadelphia, and to fundraise to support its efforts.
Members are: Kevin Barr, executive director, St. John’s Hospice; John Barrett, vice president, Logan Square Neighborhood Association; Adam Bruckner, director, Philadelphia Restart; Bill Clark, president and executive director, Philabundance; Andre Cureton, daytime program supervisor, Bethesda Project; Kim Fortunato, director, childhood obesity and hunger program, Campbell Soup Company; Brian Jenkins, executive director, Chosen 300; Samantha Matlin, special advisor to the Commissioner for Policy Development and Research, Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual Disability Services; Dick McMillen, executive director, Sunday Breakfast Rescue Mission; Carey Morgan, executive director, Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger; Joe Pyle, executive director, Thomas Scattergood Behavioral Health Foundation; Joseph Rogers, chief advocacy officer, Mental Health Association of Southeastern Pennsylvania; Nilda Ruiz, president and CEO, Asociación Puertorriqueños en Marcha; Jay Spector, president and CEO, Jewish Employment and Vocational Services; Salomon Vazquez, Outdoor Food Provider, The Connect Church.
Nutter also named two co-chairs to the group: Bill Golderer, convening minister, Broad Street Ministry, Pastor, Arch Street Presbyterian Church; and Mary Horstmann, deputy director, Policy Planning and Coordination, Mayor’s Office.
The collaborative was Nutter’s response to a report issued earlier this year by a task force he seated as part of an ongoing debate with homeless advocates across the city.
The administration is part of an ongoing lawsuit between the city and several groups that feed the homeless. Advocates sued the city to overturn Nutter’s executive order, issued in March, which banned large-scale feeding of the homeless outside. Violators faced fines of up to $150. Earlier this month, federal Judge William Yohn Jr., issued a temporary ruling against the order, allowing the continued serving of outdoor meals until he could issue a final ruling in the case.
In the wake of the dispute that led to the suit, Nutter seated the task force to find ways to feed the homeless that might placate both sides.
To comment, contact staff writer Eric Mayes at 215-893-5742 or firstname.lastname@example.org.