Firefighters, politicians, and a local newscasting icon team up to fight hunger.
Orien Reid learned early how hunger could affect her neighbors. Growing up in Atlanta, her mother invited a co-worker to the house every holiday for dinner. It wasn’t long before Reid asked her mom a perfectly natural kid question – “doesn’t Mr. Wooten have a family of his own?” Her mother told her “not everybody was as lucky as we are to have a family so we’re going to be his family.”
It was this act of kindness that Reid credits as the beginning of her fight against hunger. “My mother had a big heart and that simple lesson in generosity stills sticks with me today.”
Reid, a local newscaster on KYW and CBS for over 25 years, joined a small group of volunteers for Shoprite’s annual “Help Bag Hunger” event on Wednesday September 21 at the Fox Street store.
Councilman Bill Greenlee, 38th Ward Leader Mark Green, Reverend James Buck of Berean Baptist church and several members of the Philadelphia Fire Department Engine 59/Ladder 18 were also there to bag groceries, raise awareness, and take donations for Philabundance and other local food banks.
Greenlee was pleased to be returning for his 4th year to the event, because it emphasizes how important a supermarket like ShopRite can be to a neighborhood. He added that the the Brown family, which owns ShopRite, “has been great in that several of their stores were opened in areas of need.”
Greenlee said that much more needs to be done to end food deserts in Philadelphia. “Too many families in this city don’t have any healthy food options.” And many more go without a meal, which is unfortunately all too common in the United States. In fact, nearly 50 million Americans (including 16 million children) suffer from food insecurity, which according to Reid, means “they don’t know where their next meal is coming from.”
She thanked the volunteers for coming out to help raise money for the ShopRite Partners in Caring program, which has donated $40 million since 1999 to food banks that are on the “front lines” of the battle to end food insecurity in this country. “It’s a battle that we need to win,” she said, especially for children because they are our future and the source of tomorrow’s leaders. “They can’t grow up to their full potential if they can’t get good food.”
For more information or to learn how you can help, visit the Partners in Caring website.