Community Food Program in the Time of Covid-19

Individuals wait in line to receive food from NDS Food Cupboard

Don Devlin, CFP driver, works hard making food deliveries to food cupboards

During an unprecedented time, Nutritional Development Services’ Community Food Program (CFP) continues to meet the food needs of thousands throughout Philadelphia and the surrounding counties. Denise Hopkins, Community Food Program Administrator, and Don Devlin, CFP driver, remain steadfast in their devotion to filling food cupboards with nourishing staples for individuals in need.
Since mid-March, CFP has added seventeen new food cupboards to their list of recipients, increasing monthly food deliveries by over 5,000 pounds of food delivered. Thanks to the hard work of food pantry managers, more people than ever are receiving the food they need to stay healthy, during a time when good health and proper nutrition have never been more important.

For those that are interested in supporting the Community Food Program, CFP graciously accepts monetary donations on their website, or via virtual food drives (PB&J drive is underway until October 23!) Donate now!

By |October 15th, 2020|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Community Food Program in the Time of Covid-19

Community Food Program: Fresh Produce Initiative

This summer, in partnership with the Catholic Charities Appeal, NDS Community Food Program had a wonderful opportunity to provide fresh produce to children and families throughout the diocese.  Alongside 11 of our federally-funded Summer Meal Program sites, children receiving reimbursable meals were offered a bag of fresh fruits and vegetables to take home to their families.

It was our goal to offer produce stands in areas that may not have regular access to quality produce, and to operate at sites without elaborate programming other than meal service in order to reach children and families that would truly benefit from the additional food.  Sites ranged from neighborhood sidewalks in Northeast and South Philadelphia to Catholic Social Service locations, to the outpatient care center and Buerger Center at CHOP. Families and community members were able to choose fresh peaches, strawberries, tomatoes, ears of corn, spinach, kale, and honeydew.  Additionally, a corresponding recipe was available to taste test, which was made primarily with ingredients recipients could take from the stand.  We were surprised to learn that many individuals (adults and children) had never seen or tried honeydew melon.  This was a great teaching opportunity, and a chance to expose the recipients to something new and nutritious! Depending on the community, items rated differently in terms of popularity, but the strawberries were by far the biggest hit!

We are grateful for the opportunity to expand our reach in the community food program, to provide fresh, healthy foods to many children, families, and community members throughout the five counties during the summer months.  With each bag offering a few days worth of produce for a family of four, roughly 585 bags were distributed, giving individuals of all ages a chance to […]

By |October 4th, 2019|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Community Food Program: Fresh Produce Initiative

Students fight hunger with Souper Bowl of Caring collection

NDS has completed another successful year of the Souper Bowl for Caring drive!  We are grateful to all 16 schools and prep programs who generously collected nearly 13,000 pounds of soup in total for our network of pantries throughout the five-county area!   All donations will be used to stock the shelves of over 40 food cupboards throughout the Philadelphia metropolitan area.

Of note, was Sacred Heart Academy’s collection of over 8,000 cans, our largest collection of the season, and the largest collection ever by one school!  

“We have an opportunity to positively impact the community, not just by creating awareness around hunger, but actively working to eradicate it, and encouraging others to do the same.”

Students from Sacred Heart Academy’s lower, middle and upper schools enthusiastically participated in a friendly competition to see who could collect the most cans. Divided into two teams per division, students used their creativity and area connections to collect as much soup as possible. Recruitment of alumni family members, grocery store connections, Campbell’s Soup Corporate, and faculty/staff of Sacred Heart, students pulled together to provide thousands of cans of soups for the hungry.

Student leaders on the Committee of Games, Seniors Emma Winner and Danielle Santora, shared the sentiment, that it was a “friendly, fun competition, but for a good cause.  After working determinedly as a school, we realized how impactful our donation would be for those in need.” Abigail Loranca, member of the Seniors Community Service Corp, reflected, “We have an opportunity to positively impact the community, not just by creating awareness around hunger, but actively working to eradicate it and encouraging others to do the same.”

“Impacting the community” is a value embraced by Sacred
Heart students throughout their […]

By |February 15th, 2019|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Students fight hunger with Souper Bowl of Caring collection

Catholic Relief Services 75th Anniversary

This year marks Catholic Relief Services 75th year of putting faith into action to help individuals in need, both locally and globally.  NDS receives 25% of the CRS Rice Bowl donations, which is used to purchase foods for our cupboards and soup kitchens.  Thank you for your faithful support for the last 75 years!

Pictured above:  Lizanne Hagedorn, NDS Director; Anne Ayella, CRS Diocesan Director; Anne Murphy, former NDS board member; Bethany Welsh, NDS board member; Maureen McCullough, and CRS Mid-Atlantic Regional Director.




By |September 20th, 2018|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Catholic Relief Services 75th Anniversary

Students Help Fight Hunger with “Souper Bowl for Caring”

Fifteen local schools and Parish Religious Education Programs (PREP) helped tackle hunger last month by participating in the Souper Bowl for Caring. This national collection drive uses the excitement surrounding the NFL’s Super Bowl to mobilize youth in a united effort to care for people in their local communities who are hungry and in need.

In the weeks leading up to Super Bowl LII, students worked to fight hunger and poverty in their community by collecting more than 17,000 pounds of food. The food will be used to stock the shelves of 40 food cupboards located throughout the five county metropolitan area.

Brooke Mullen, Assistant Director of Community Relations for NDS said, “The Souper Bowl of Caring is a great way for students to come together around sports and fun while also being mindful of the needs within our community. Students are empowered to help neighbors in need and to be cognizant of those who may not have a ‘bowl of soup’ to eat, while celebrating a great day of football. This year was especially exciting for our students to participate, as this year’s Souper Bowl marked the year the Eagles won the Super Bowl.”

Students who attend Sacred Heart Academy in Bryn Mawr collected 4,000 cans of soup this year. This was the largest collection of cans ever collected by one school.

Kelly Weber, History and Theology Teacher and Community Service Coordinator said, “Sacred Heart Academy challenged our school community to reach 2018 cans of soup for our Annual Souper Bowl of Caring to match the year of the Eagles Superbowl. To help us reach this goal, we also invited alumnae to participate by dropping off cans or making a donation on Venmo. All of our constituencies […]

By |March 1st, 2018|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Students Help Fight Hunger with “Souper Bowl for Caring”

Saint Helena’s Food Cupboard

For more than three years, the Saint Helena’s Food Cupboard located in Philadelphia’s Olney neighborhood has provided emergency food assistance to those in need. Each week, the cupboard directly impacts approximately 40 clients, who receive a variety of fresh and non-perishable foods including canned tuna, salmon, lean meats, fresh produce, whole grain pasta and rice, and low-sodium canned goods.

Sister Anna Marie, a Religious Sister of Mercy and Registered Nurse, manages the cupboard located in the basement of the Saint Helena’s Convent with the help of seven dedicated volunteers. In addition to managing the food bank, Sister Anna Marie visits homebound older adults through the “Friendly Visitors” Program.

Sister Anna Marie said, “Originally the cupboard was located at Incarnation of Our Lord Parish. Though we relocated three years ago, we continue to serve clients from that area in addition to those who live in various zip codes including 19120, 19126, and 19111.”

Each week, the Saint Helena’s Food Cupboard is open Tuesday and Thursday from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Sister Anna Marie said, “We try to provide each client in need with two small meals such as pasta with meat sauce or macaroni and cheese. In addition, we offer blood pressure screening and health education.”

Saint Helena’s Food Cupboard is supported by Nutritional Development Services’ Community Food Program. In addition, parishioners from several parishes including Saint Ambrose, Saint Williams, and Saint James help to keep the shelves stocked with healthy, nourishing food items.

NDS is grateful to Sister Anna Marie and Saint Helena’s Food Cupboard’s volunteers for their dedication to fighting hunger. To make a donation to the Saint Helena’s Food Cupboard, please email Sister Anna Marie, 

By |September 22nd, 2017|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Saint Helena’s Food Cupboard

Weaver’s Way Food Justice Committee supports NDS Community Food Program

Looking back on the summer, organizations across the Philadelphia region worked diligently to continue the fight against hunger, including Weaver’s Way Coop Food Justice Committee, Chestnut Hill/Mt. Airy. The committee put together a food drive that resulted in over 2,000 pounds of food donated to neighboring food cupboards including our partner Holy Cross Food Pantry, Mt. Airy.  Items donated included canned goods, fresh produce, coffee, tea, and household items.   Additionally, over $1200 was raised for Holy Cross, money that would allow the pantry to offer fresh produce all summer long.

NDS Community Food Program is thankful for the generosity of Weaver’s Way. It is people and organizations like them that help make a difference in the lives of those in need, especially during the summertime when donations are down and school is out of session.

By |September 14th, 2017|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Weaver’s Way Food Justice Committee supports NDS Community Food Program

NEW Loaves and Fishes Summer 2017 Newsletter

Please click here to read our Loaves and Fishes Summer Newsletter for 2017!

You will read about community gardens that we have helped to get started at several sites this year including:

St. Raymond’s House in Germantown

West Catholic Preparatory School

St. Francis Villa, Kensington

Mission of St. Joan of Arc, Harrowgate

Catholic Social Services-Chester

DITO (Dream, Invent, Think, Organize), West Oak Lane


By |September 7th, 2017|Uncategorized|Comments Off on NEW Loaves and Fishes Summer 2017 Newsletter

Things to remember about doing an NDS food drive:

Our new driver, Don, will be available Monday through Friday!     
Remember to send back your response slip as soon as possible if you need a pick-up.
Call Denise Hopkins at 215-895-3470 if you have any questions or to arrange a pick-up.
It is still important to let us know if you are participating even if you are giving your collection to a local food cupboard or keeping it at your parish food cupboard!
Please be sure to box food items! Please use small paper size boxes if possible.
Take a picture of your students and food drive collection, please send them to Denise Hopkins at
Please be sure you have parent/guardian permission before you send us pictures, because we may use them in our newsletter or on our social media accounts.
Friend us on Facebook: NDS Community Food Program    Follow us on Twitter:  NDS_Community Food    Follow us on Instagram:  nds_community_food


By |June 20th, 2017|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Things to remember about doing an NDS food drive:

Nutritional Development Services To Participate In 21st Annual Walk Against Hunger

Nutritional Development Services (NDS) will participate in the Coalition Against Hunger’s 21st Annual Thomas’ Walk Against Hunger, Saturday April 8, 2017.

This annual fundraiser benefits more than 100 food pantries, soup kitchens, and anti-hunger agencies in the region, including NDS. Together, these programs help hundreds of thousands of local families put food on their tables each day. Agencies such as NDS form teams, raise money, and participate in the walk. 80 percent of the funds raised by NDS will be used to combat hunger through the organization’s Community Food Program. The remaining 20 percent will go to the Coalition.

For over forty years, NDS’ mission has been to serve children and those in need with healthy food and food-related resources. NDS accomplishes its mission in two distinct ways: by administering the federally-funded child nutrition programs and through the privately supported Community Food Program.

This year’s walk will start with a lap around the field and then continues with a lap around the stadium. Participants will enjoy a free breakfast and snacks, live music and entertainment, and games and face painting for kids.

To learn more about the Thomas’ Walk Against or register to walk, visit To support the NDS team by making a donation visit

By |April 6th, 2017|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Nutritional Development Services To Participate In 21st Annual Walk Against Hunger