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In memory of Aid For Friends Founder, Rita Ungaro Schiavone

When people in the Philadelphia region hear the name Rita Ungaro Schiavone, immediately their thoughts go to Aid For Friends, the local non-profit giant that serves tens of thousands of home-bound seniors with healthy meals and friendly visits. Many do not realize that in addition to founding Aid for Friends 43 years ago, Rita also was the founding impetus behind the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s Community Food Program back in the early 1970s.

In her work with the Cardinal’s Commission on Human Relations, Rita Schiavone saw the need to assist individuals and families in our area who were struggling to put healthy food on their table. She realized that local people were hungry and in need of help. Rita approached local parishes and schools and encouraged them to organize food collections to assist persons in need. Under her leadership, a network of over 30 food cupboards sprang up to fill the need. Her own parish, St. Jerome, was one of the original thirty food cupboards and continues today to meet the needs of hungry people in the neighborhood of Holme Circle.

Rita was a real pioneer in the anti-hunger field. She saw a need and she realized that as Christians, we are called to feed the hungry and meet the needs of others. She realized early on that we serve the hungry “not because they are Christian and in need” but rather “because we are Christian and are called to serve.” Many of the original food cupboards were hosted in other churches and community centers. It was a truly an inter-faith effort!

Rita moved on from the Cardinal’s Commission in 1974 to found Aid For Friends but left behind a strong program that was later moved to Nutritional […]

By |March 27th, 2017|Uncategorized|Comments Off on In memory of Aid For Friends Founder, Rita Ungaro Schiavone

Peanut Butter & Jelly Drive Is A Great Success!

The Community Food Program celebrated the completion of the 2016 Peanut Butter & Jelly Drive at St. Aloysius Academy, Bryn Mawr.  We collected over 50,000 pounds of Peanut Butter & Jelly from over 50 schools and religious education programs throughout the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.  We also received a fantastic collection from St. Eugene PREP program in Primos.  We are proud of all the students that collect PB&J for us and for sharing it with the many needy people in our area.  Thank you to everyone who participated this year!

By |November 17th, 2016|Uncategorized|0 Comments

The Jubilee Year of Mercy and Feeding the Hungry by Anne Healy Ayella

The Jubilee Year of Mercy provides all of us with so many wonderful opportunities to reflect, pray, learn and act.

Pope Francis reminds all of us in Misericordiae Vultus, the proclamation that opened the year that Jesus is the “FACE” of the Father’s mercy. Jesus reveals the mercy of God by His words, actions and person.  We follow Jesus’ example when we open ourselves to the Father’s mercy by looking sincerely into the eyes of our brothers and sisters.  This year of mercy gives us the opportunity to reflect:

How have I experienced the Father’s mercy in my life?

How is Jesus calling me to look into the eyes of those in need?

Another way Pope Francis phrases it is “to ENCOUNTER the other.” Who are we called to encounter?  Maybe it’s an estranged neighbor, a cranky relative, a disagreeable co-worker, a teenage son or daughter, a hungry family struggling to put healthy food on their table.

Pope Francis goes on to say: “It is absolutely essential for the Church and for the credibility of her message that she live and testify to mercy. Mercy is “the beating heart of the Gospel.”  To live mercy, we must rediscover both the spiritual works of mercy and the corporal works of mercy.  In this, we’ll focus on feeding the hungry and giving drink to the thirsty, but we can also consider- are these the works of mercy I am being called to practice?  If not, what am I being called to?

Some works of mercy are easier for us than others. One suggestion is to practice a different work of mercy each week or each month.  Pray about it and decide where you need to grow.  Feeding the hungry has always come […]

By |February 22nd, 2016|Uncategorized|0 Comments

NDS’ Anne Healy Ayella Receives Hunger Fighter Award

Anne Healy Ayella, Director for Community Relations for Nutritional Development Services, received the Hunger Fighter Award at the annual Coaltion Against Hunger breakfast on Friday, November 6th.   The award was in recognition of Anne’s life-long commitment to alleviating hunger in the community.

By |November 19th, 2015|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Welcome Back to a new school year!

By |September 2nd, 2015|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Pope Francis cut-out to be used for food drive photos!

The Community Food Program is asking all our schools, religious education programs, PREP programs, and community groups to take a picture with their food drive items with the Pope Francis cut-out!

Please send photos to Denise Hopkins at dhopkins@ndsarch.org

By |August 31st, 2015|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Saying Good-bye to St. Francis de Sales Food Cupboard…

NDS Community Food Program says good-bye to two of our dearest friends this summer. Sister Marita Jean and Sister Rita Martin are ending their time at the St Francis de Sales Parish Food Cupboard in Southwest Philadelphia. The cupboard closed its doors on July 31st. The sisters first started out at Most Blessed Sacrament Parish and then moved to a storefront on Chester Avenue that was supported by St. Francis de Sales Parish and Father John Hand. The sisters will be missed by all of us who have come to know and love them, especially all their friends on Chester Avenue. A special thanks to Tom and Unc who have helped support the food cupboard for many years as volunteers. We wish Sister Marita Jean many years of good health as she retires to Camilla Hall and to Sister Rita as she begins her new ministry at St. Gabriel Parish Food Cupboard in South Philadelphia. Thank you Sisters for your friendship and hard work! You will be missed!

By |October 7th, 2014|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Our Lady of Confidence Day School

Students from Our Lady of Confidence Day School and teacher, Denise Cmar, were presented with a special Certificate of Appreciation by NDS Community Food Program Administrator, Denise Hopkins.  The students participated in several food drives this year!  We are grateful to all our schools and religious education programs that support us throughout the year.

By |May 8th, 2014|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Queen of Angels Kindergarten, Willow Grove

The Community Food Program received a generous donation from Queen of Angels Kindergartner, Madeline White. Madeline celebrated her 6th Birthday with a party in February. Madeline and her parents invited guests to make donations to the Community Food Program instead of presents for Madeline. We are grateful for the gift of Madeline’s generosity and will use her donation of $650 to feed many hungry people throughout the Archdiocese.

 

By |February 25th, 2014|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Homily of Pope Francis

Since NDS takes its inspiration from the Gospel story of the Loaves and Fishes, we are sharing these beautiful words from Pope Francis’ homily on the Feast of Corpus Christi which reminds all of us that we are called to share our gifts with those in need and the Lord will bless and multiply our efforts. […]

By |June 13th, 2013|Uncategorized|0 Comments