The Mitzvah Food Project was piloted in 1996 to alleviate hunger and malnutrition among at-risk families in the Greater Philadelphia region.

With broad-based support from the region’s Jewish community and hunger relief agencies, the Mitzvah Food Project, which initially distributed food through a single community site, has expanded its geographic reach throughout Philadelphia and into the region’s lower-income suburban neighborhoods.

The Mitzvah Food Project benefits from both the support of an advisory committee made up of active community members, local nutritionists, and site leaders and a team of dedicated volunteers that keep our pantries and deliveries running smoothly. We also work with local and state hunger relief organizations, synagogues, and community organizations to acquire low-cost food staples and with volunteer groups throughout the region to organize food drives.

During 2016-2017, the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia’s Mitzvah Food Project distributed 859,260 pounds of food to 7,985 clients. This was a 10% increase in the amount of food distributed compared to the prior year. This increase is largely due to the growth of the Mitzvah Food Project’s Choice Food Program at KleinLife which now serves over 1,732 families a month, a 31% increase compared to the previous year.

Where did Mitzvah Food Project support come from in 2016-2017?

During 2016-2017, the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia’s Mitzvah Food Project distributed 859,260 pounds of food to 7,985 clients. This was a 7% increase in the amount of food distributed compared to the prior year.

In-Kind Food Support

SHARE Food Program, a non-profit that provides discounted food to food pantries, shelters, and individuals, provided the Mitzvah Food Project with over $276,750 worth of in-kind food support through the State Food Purchase Program.

Philabundance provided $308,004.50 worth of in-kind food, including food boxes from the Commodity Supplemental Food Program and fresh and frozen products from local grocery stores through its Grocers Against Hunger satellite program.

Chelten House Products donated pasta and marinara sauce each month, worth approximately $25,000 for the year.

Quaker Valley Foods provided donations of frozen poultry over $10,000 to the Choice Food Program at Kleinlife.

Individual Donations

228 individuals in Greater Philadelphia gave gifts totaling $148,460, 35% of the Mitzvah Food Project’s total cash revenue.

Grants

The Mitzvah Food Project received grants totaling of $153,153, or 36% of the Mitzvah Food Project’s total cash revenue.

What is the Choice Food Program?

The Mitzvah Food Project Choice Food Program is our signature food security program located at KleinLife. This program provides 3.5 days’ worth of nutritious meals every month. Clients are able to choose their food using a touchscreen, allowing volunteers to pack their bags according to the client’s preferences and dietary requirements. The unique touchscreen system uses virtual points, allocated to each household monthly, to incentivize healthy eating by pricing healthy options lower (e.g., brown rice is 1 point and white rice is 2).