First Lady, Agriculture Secretary Volunteer at Philadelphia Food Rescue to Reduce Food Waste, Connect Hungry Families with Healthy Food

First Lady Lori Shapiro and Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding volunteered, packing boxes alongside Evan Ehlers, Founder and Executive Director at Sharing Excess, a food rescue operation at the Philadelphia Wholesale Produce Market. Sharing Excess works to reduce food waste while getting fresh, healthy food to city neighborhoods.

“We cannot accept that 20% of Philadelphians lack access to healthy good. Josh and I are committed to changing this by investing in food security across the Commonwealth,” said First Lady Lori Shapiro “Our budget proposes $22 million to grow the minimum SNAP benefits, provides meals for school children, and invests in our local farmers.

Since 2018, Sharing Excess has rescued 41 million pounds of food, diverting it from landfills and into the hands of those who need it most. They connect restaurants with surplus food to hunger-relief organizations, bolstered by a passionate network of volunteers and college interns. Today, the state-of-the-art Philadelphia Wholesale Produce Market serves as their central hub, where they work with farmers to restaurants to ensure that healthy foods never go to waste.

“For generations, Pennsylvania farmers have nourished our communities donating their surplus through the Philadelphia Wholesale Produce Market,” said Agriculture Secretary Redding. “Food has the power to nourish families, strengthen communities, and provide sustainable income. From the Pennsylvania Food Policy Council to the investments we’re making at all levels of the agriculture and food industry – from education to innovation to economic development – we are continuing the legacy of our farmers, and ensuring a healthy, robust, and sustainable future for our Commonwealth.”

The Pennsylvania Food Policy Council, established in December 2022, recently released their 2023 Annual Report, detailing strategies to further build upon our local and regional food systems and support inclusive economic growth in the Commonwealth.

“The fight against hunger in Pennsylvania isn’t just about having less,” said Pennsylvania Food Policy Council Director Dawn Plummer. “As Sharing Excess demonstrates, Pennsylvania boasts incredible agricultural bounty and surplus grown by our generous farmers. I am proud to lead a Council that brings together a diversity of perspectives to address these complex yet solvable food system challenges. By connecting over 1.2 million Pennsylvanians facing food insecurity – including one in eight of our children – with innovate food distribution networks, we can ensure everyone has access to the abundance Pennsylvania produces.”