The Mitzvah Food Program 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 Program, 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 Program 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 2019-2020, the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia’s Mitzvah Food Program distributed 938,020 pounds of food to 8,227 clients.

Where did Mitzvah Food Program support come from in 2019-2020?

During 2019-2020, the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia’s Mitzvah Food Program distributed 938,020 pounds of food to 8,227 clients.

In-Kind Food Support

SHARE Food Program, a non-profit that provides discounted food to food pantries, shelters, and individuals, provided the Mitzvah Food Program with over $260,750 worth of in-kind food support through the State Food Purchase Program.

Philabundance provided $499,296 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 $50,000 for the year.

Quaker Valley Foods provided donations of frozen poultry and fish worth over $11,300 to the Mitzvah Food Program’s Northeast pantry.

Individual Donations

182 individuals in Greater Philadelphia gave gifts totaling $649,025, 63% of the Mitzvah Food Program’s total cash revenue.

Grants

The Mitzvah Food Program received grants totaling of $168,836, or 16% of the Mitzvah Food Program’s total cash revenue. The Jewish Federation’s grant from the Jewish Community Fund supplied 21% of this year’s total cash revenue.

What is the Choice Food Program?

The Mitzvah Food Program 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).