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Successful Phillies food drive feeds thousands

Thursday, September 22, 2011   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Amy Seasholtz
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Philadelphia Business Journal | 9-22-11

Citizens Bank Foundation and the Philadelphia Phillies teamed up to help the Philabundance food bank for its Phans Feeding Families program, which has provided more than 190,000 meals for families. Fans at Phillies games during July donated more than five tons of food to Philabundance and Citizens Bank Foundation donated $50,000 to it as well as another $83,000 to other nonprofits.

"The Phans Feeding Families event is really fantastic,” said Executive Director Bill Clark, adding that summer is an urgent time for hungry families because kids don't get access to school lunches and breakfasts. Additionally, Clark said that with most food drives being around the holidays, less food comes in during the summer. Clark said there has been a 66 percent increase in the number of families that approach the agency during the past two years, and food donations are down by about a quarter.

"Citizens Bank and the Phillies, we've worked with them before, but they basically offered to come to our aid and see what they can do. They created between them this Phans Feeding Families program, which brought the publicity power of the Philadelphia Phillies to raise awareness of the program, and they did fantastically well,” Clark said.

During pre-game ceremonies, representatives from Aramark, Citizens Bank, The Coca-Cola Co., Goya Foods, Hatfield Quality Meats, Septa, ShopRite and Toyota joined Philabundance for the first pitch. Each pitcher was meant to symbolize 100,000 of the 900,000 people at risk of hunger in the Delaware Valley. Each of the sponsors provide support to local hunger relief efforts through food drives, financial donations or product contributions throughout the year.

Citizen Bank's regional President and CEO Daniel Fitzpatrick said hunger initiatives have been a focus of Citizens Bank’s philanthropic efforts.

"We have a long track record of working closely with Philabundance and the wonderful job of tackling hunger that they do,” he said. "The hunger issue is often really misunderstood and awareness isn’t as great as it should be. Particularly in the summer months, we have a real hunger crisis in Philadelphia. With that being a key initiative for us, we thought how can we help Philabundance do more? We are so fortunate to have this wonderful partnership between Citizens and the Philadelphia Phillies,” Fitzpatrick said. "They jumped right in, it’s a great cause.”