As of 2020, nearly 16% of Philadelphians — almost 250,000 people — experience food
insecurity. In Philadelphia, access to healthy food varies widely by race and by neighborhood. Areas with disproportionately low numbers of healthy, high-produce stores and an overabundance of unhealthy, low-produce stores are concentrated in low-income neighborhoods, primarily affecting Black and Hispanic Philadelphians.
Food insecurity is associated with higher rates of self-reported poor health, diabetes, and hypertension, along with worse behavioral, emotional, and academic outcomes. When we think about what achieving health equity looks like for our city, providing equitable food access is crucial — we must ensure that families across Philadelphia can access healthy and nutritious food, no matter where they live.
In honor of National Nutrition Month, we are proud to spotlight Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) — a member of the Accelerate Health Equity (AHE) initiative — and its work to address nutrition needs in Philadelphia.
PCOM’s mission is to educate health professionals to care for the whole person and advance the health of diverse communities. Its Healthcare Centers — located throughout the city — serve the medical needs of the community by providing access to quality healthcare in convenient locations and responding to the specific needs of patients. One way the institution is working toward that mission is by operating food pantries at three Healthcare Center locations: City Avenue, Lancaster Avenue, and West Cambria Street.
PCOM originally launched the food pantry initiative in partnership with Bebashi — a full-service HIV/AIDS nonprofit organization — in the fall of 2020, and continues to expand its reach today. At each food pantry, families receive food bags intended to subsidize their food supply and last up to two weeks. For many living in food deserts, this is a critical lifeline to nutritious food. In 2022, PCOM added frozen protein, vegetables, and fruit to their offerings.
Since its launch, the initiative has distributed over 5,000 pounds of food to over 2,400 families. These meals not only help families put food on the table, but can also help to improve health outcomes and address nutrition needs. Accelerate Health Equity is proud to call PCOM a partner in our work to address health equity and advance health through a unified approach.
Read PCOM’s latest article to learn more about this initiative and its work to improve food access in Philadelphia. Individuals and families interested in accessing food pantry services should call the PCOM Healthcare Centers main number to schedule an appointment or visit their nearest location:
Main Telephone #:
Family Medicine at PCOM (City Ave Division)
4190 City Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19131
2100 W. Cambria Street
Philadelphia, PA 19132
Lancaster Avenue Division
4148 Lancaster Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19104