Philly Coronavirus News: We Take a Look Inside the Box of Free Food Handed Out By the City

Plus, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia apologizes for its rogue churches.

a free box of food handed out by the city of philadelphia during the coronavirus crisis

Inside the free box of food that the City of Philadelphia was handing out on Monday during the coronavirus crisis. (Photo by Victor Fiorillo)

A roundup of Philly coronavirus news.

City Hands Out Tons of Free Food Due to Coronavirus Crisis

On Monday, the city began handing out tons of free food at 20 community food sites across the city. This will continue every Monday and Thursday.

Between 10 a.m. and noon on those days, residents just show up and grab a box of food. It’s that simple. You don’t have to show identification. The city asks that you limit it to one box per household. And if you’re the kind of person who drives around to every site and picks up a box of food for hoarding purposes, well, don’t forget about that thing called karma.

We stopped by a site on the 5900 block of Lancaster Avenue, just down the street from Will Smith’s alma mater, Overbrook High School. The food site was an efficient operation with staffers and volunteers ensuring that those who showed up for pickup not only got their box of food but also maintained proper social distancing from everybody else.

So What’s Inside the Box?

Here’s what we found inside. Note that selections vary from location to location. Some residents reported getting fresh fruit and veggies. Others told us they received hot chocolate and snacks.

  • One quart of milk
  • A 46-ounce bottle of orange juice
  • Dried navy beans — two bags
  • Collard greens — two cans
  • Starkist chunk light tuna fish — two large cans
  • Sweet potatoes — two cans
  • Peas — two cans
  • Bartlett pears in syrup — two cans
  • Potatoes au gratin — two boxes
  • One pound of egg noodles

(Before you send us hate mail, you should know that we immediately sealed the box back up and donated it to a local family in need that was unable to get to the pickup point.)

So Where Do I Pick Up a Box of Free Food?

Below, a list of all of the free food sites in Philadelphia:

  • 3750 Lancaster Avenue
  • 5900 Lansdowne Avenue
  • 5500 Kingsessing Avenue
  • 7236 Ogontz Avenue
  • 229 Moore Street
  • 1738 West Atlantic Street
  • 2140 North Hancock Street
  • 6610 Anderson Street
  • 531 Chew Avenue
  • 1631 West Susquehanna Ave
  • 1906 Harrison Street
  • 1719 North 52nd Street
  • 1916 East Venango Street
  • 1648 West Hunting Park Avenue
  • 6506 Elmwood Avenue
  • 1711 South Broad Street
  • 5925 Lancaster Avenue
  • 5500 Tabor Road
  • 4355 Paul Street
  • 6150 Cedar Avenue

This is a partnership between the City of Philadelphia, the Share Food Program, and Philabundance. According to a city spokesperson, 4,269 boxes of food were delivered to the sites. We’re still waiting for the exact number of boxes picked up.

Archdiocese Apologizes for Rogue Churches

Earlier this week, we told you that some Catholic churches in Philadelphia were allowing parishioners to attend Mass, in spite of the Archdiocese’s official suspension of all public masses. And we found at least one Catholic Church in Philadelphia that wasn’t just allowing people in for Mass — they are also serving Communion. The two churches we named were Our Lady of Lourdes and St. Barnabas.

On Monday afternoon, after we first published that article, Father Gerald Dennis Gill (aka the director of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s Office of Divine Worship) reached out to us.

“I can’t explain what’s going on at Lourdes or Barnabas,” he said. “This is definitely contrary to our directives. There aren’t supposed to be any gatherings. That is the fundamental point of these precautions, and we are trying to abide by that. I am sorry for these transgressions by these churches.”

We’ll keep you posted as more details unfold.

Police to Philly: Protect Your Bottled Water

South Philadelphia’s 3rd Police District at 11th and Wharton reports an increase of car break-ins during the coronavirus crisis. And what are the thieves stealing? No, not your radio. They’re stealing bottled water and cleaning products:

So if you’re one of those parents who keeps a hand sanitizer pump in the back seat for your kids, you better bring it inside with you each day.

Trump Gives Wolf What He Asked For

Over the weekend, Pennsylvania governor Tom Wolf asked President Donald Trump to declare Pennsylvania a major disaster area, which would open up lots of money in federal assistance to the state. Well, with the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Pennsylvania now well over 4,000, the prez has done just that.

Meanwhile, Wolf just extended his stay-at-home order through April 30th. That order currently affects all of the counties in our region, as well as about 20 other counties.

“Stay home as much as possible,” reads Pennsylvania’s current stay-at-home guidelines. “Try to get groceries once per week instead of daily… Freedom of travel remains, but please refrain from non-essential travel. Essential travel includes things like commuting to an essential job, picking up supplies like groceries and medicine, and checking on family and pets in other households. Do not host or attend gatherings.”

As for Wolf’s ban on the operation of non-essential businesses? That has now been extended indefinitely. Hunker down, as they say.