Bethel Presbyterian Church deacon helps feed hundreds of families each week in Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) — A North Philadelphia woman is stepping up to help her community in times of need, hosting weekly food drives to help neighbors put meals on the table.

Grace Marable is a deacon at Bethel Presbyterian Church at 19th and York streets. On Thursday, she expects to see a line of hungry people that usually circles the block.

“So many people don’t have adequate food for their families,” she said.

The church is in a neighborhood where more than 40% of people live below the federal poverty level.

“It’s just important to help out,” Marable said.

She says that between the pandemic and inflation, her neighbors are suffering.

“We know to prepare for at least 100 people tomorrow,” she said. “When you go to the stores to get things, the supply isn’t there or the price is so high that you have to make choices or alternatives to fill your food bag.”

That’s why for more than a decade, food has been its mission. She spends her days calling as many sources as possible, like Philabunandce, and putting together dozens of bags each week with at least three meals.

“We need bread. Tomorrow we need 100 loaves of bread,” she said.

To continue doing its rescue work, the church needs more help. He’s organizing a $250,000 fundraiser to get a new roof and repair water damage throughout the building. The goal is to bring the community inside.

“Since the start of the pandemic, we’ve been outside every week. Rain, snow, we’ve been outside,” she said.

His vision is to make this church a warm and safe place for the community at a time when safe spaces seem few and far between.

“It’s a lot of space here,” she said. “It could be us (who need help) tomorrow, next week, next month.”

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