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An Apple a Day is Within Reach, But Only With Your Help!

The many musings of a Junior League of Philadelphia volunteer

Do you know how much it costs to raise a family of four within our region and to provide them with an apple a day without requiring government assistance?

A new report issued by PathWays PA on Oct. 16 indicates that it costs upwards of $70,000 annually to raise a self-sufficient family of four within this region. In Delaware County, the figure is $73,000, and in Montgomery County, the number escalates to a whopping $74,000. In the city of Philadelphia, the income required to support a family comprised of two adults, a preschooler, and one school-age child, is $61,000 without government assistance. These figures represent an average $2,000 increase in the last two years due in part to rising food and commodities prices.

According to the last U.S. Census report from 2010, nearly 17 million American children are food insecure, meaning that they do not know when or where they will receive their next nutritious meal. A significant percentage of those children live right here in the Delaware Valley.

For those of you who shop in your local supermarkets or fill your gas tanks a few times a month, these numbers will come as no surprise. The recession has hit many area families hard, and it's not just individuals living within urban communities who feel the pinch and struggle to make their basic bills. Poverty and hunger insecurity know no geographic boundaries, which is why volunteer organizations like The Junior League of Philadelphia, Inc. (JLP) are needed now more than ever before.

This past weekend, the JLP hosted the first of its three major community wide fundraisers to support the newly launched Apple a Day Healthy Living Initiative (TM), which aims to strategically pair access to nutritious food with educational programming.

The Taste of Fall festival welcomed nearly 500 members of the Philadelphia region at the historic Smith Memorial Playground and Playhouse in Fairmount Park and featured local restaurants offering samples as well as area vendors selling their wares. The proceeds from this fun, family friendly event are benefitting the JLP's mission of training volunteers and women leaders as well as the Apple a Day Healthy Living Initiative.

Many thanks go out to the JLP volunteers, our participating restaurants and vendors who made the day possible and whose efforts will make a lasting and measurable impact.

Within the past month, JLP volunteers have been hard at work in the community, giving both time and financial resources. As I reported in September, the JLP donated over $21,000 to underwrite a hoop house and community supported share program through Greener Partners, another nonprofit organization whose mission compliments our own.

Work on the hoop house at Greener Partners' Hillside Farm in Media, PA is progressing. The hoop house and community supported shares funded by the JLP will enable 32 local families to receive fresh, locally sourced produce this winter -- a time of year when affordable options for feeding children and their families is the most challenging and expensive. 

Last week, the JLP fulfilled a promise to sponsor two community gardens in North Philadelphia in partnership with the Philadelphia Orchard Project at a total cost of $10,000. The JLP is planning a service day at these locations during the spring of 2013. 

Even though we as an organization devote more than 75,000 hours of volunteer service annually, the JLP cannot meet the ever-increasing community need for fresh produce and nutritious meals on our own. We need YOUR help. Here is how you can become involved and make an apple a day a reality for local children and their families:

Support our two remaining fundraising events.

The Harvest Hustle 5k Run/1k Walk will occur on Sunday, November 4 and will begin at Suburban Square in Ardmore. We are currently accepting registrations for runners/walkers and are looking for event sponsors.

The American Girl Fashion Show will take place during the weekend of March 2 and 3, 2013 at the Desmond Hotel in Malvern. Model applications are now available on the Junior League of Philadelphia website.

Model applications are accepted on a first come, first served basis now through December, and girls ages 5 through 11 are encouraged to participate. Tickets for the American Girl Fashion Show will go on sale in February, and our sponsorship application will be available soon. We are in need of corporate sponsorships for the event as well as in kind donations for event supplies and raffle items.

Support our Thrift Shop located at 25 W. Lancaster Ave in Ardmore. The shop accepts donations and also offers a consignment option for carefully selected high end items. Your contributions are tax deductible and directly benefit the JLP's mission. If you are looking for a great deal, be sure to shop at the store regularly. We offer a range of sizes, styles, and brands. There's truly something for everyone, and our inventory changes regularly.

Donate to our Annual Fund. The JLP will gladly accept your tax deductible financial contributions, which will enable us to continue our volunteer work in the community. Help us FEED the community as we: 

  • FACILITATE increased access to fresh produce and combat malnutrition and epidemic hunger through a network of community partners including Greener Partners and the Philadelphia Orchard Project.
  • EDUCATE children and adults to experience the connection between healthy eating and healthy living through hands-on nutrition and exercise education programs. JLP volunteers work with over 2,500 area children and their families each year alongside our community partners.
  • EMPOWER individuals to become advocates for their own health and wellbeing by providing free health and wellness screenings to more than 300 people annually, in partnership with Lankenau Hospital and Main Line Health System (beginning in 2013). League members will also work with our partners to transform more than 3,000 government subsidized school lunches into a healthy dining experience.
  • DISTRIBUTE more than 3,500 pounds of fresh produce annually in areas classified as food deserts each year so that adults and children in our community will live longer, healthier, and happier lives.

I hope to see you throughout the year, and if you happen to spy me near the JLP Headquarters in Ardmore or at an event where the JLP is present, please be sure to say hello! 

All the Best,

Jennifer Morgan
President 2012-2013
The Junior League of Philadelphia, Inc. 

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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