Imagine coming home after a long day, sitting down, and enjoying a comforting hot meal. For almost 250,000 people in Philadelphia, this simple necessity remains out of reach, but FaceToFace is changing that. FaceToFace is not just another soup kitchen among the nearly 3,000 in Philadelphia. They’re a wholesome exception, dedicated to creating meaningful connections between volunteers and diners, making it possible for every person in the Philadelphia area to experience the warmth of a hot meal and the power of human connection.
FaceToFace believes that food-insecure members of the Philadelphian community deserve more than just a meal. They should be able to sit down to a nourishing dish made from farm-fresh, organic ingredients and have access to essential personal care items and facilities. Their dedicated volunteers work tirelessly all week to foster meaningful community connections and create a welcoming, hospitable environment.
Jeanne Reiche, the director of development and communications at FaceToFace, paints a picture of the organization’s impact when she says, “Successes happen every day, some small like a guest receiving a meal or a hot shower, and others large, such as preventing evictions.” Reiche highlighted that daily victories, both big and small, contribute to the positive impact that FaceToFace has on the Philadelphian community.
"FaceToFace is true to the mission of meeting the needs of people where they are, not what we think a person needs from our perspective," said Becky Messa, the volunteer coordinator for FaceToFace. "The way we operate, whether it's how we serve lunch in a restaurant-style fashion to partnering with guests to work on a housing issue, feels authentic and gives dignity to all who enter our doors." This commitment to authenticity and person-centered care is central to FaceToFace’s mission, ensuring that each individual's unique needs and circumstances are respected and met with dignity.
Reiche shares a few ways the community can get involved: "Looking ahead, our priority and responsibility as a development team is to raise $2.9 million." This formidable task, however, cannot be achieved without the support of the community. Reiche suggests various ways individuals can contribute, stating, "It can be volunteering time and/or donating." Those eager to get involved can easily sign up to volunteer as kitchen help or a server online. (https://facetofacegermantown.org/volunteer/)
Messa highlights the diverse range of volunteer opportunities available, "We have many ways to volunteer, from in-person meal servers to being home cooks." Over the past decade, the organization has experienced substantial growth in volunteer opportunities, “Volunteers can work in the kitchen, dining room, Health Ctr, Legal Ctr, Social Services, Educational Equity programs, and volunteers help run our computer lab, art program, crochet club, yoga club, and more.” These opportunities underscore the organization's commitment to community engagement and the multifaceted impact volunteers can have on FaceToFace’s mission.
FaceToFace's mission of changing lives one meal at a time is a beacon of hope in Philadelphia's fight against food insecurity and homelessness. Their approach goes beyond serving hot meals; it's about fostering connections, providing dignity, and creating a warm and welcoming environment for those in need. The words of Jeanne Reiche and Becky Messa highlight the organization's profound impact, from preventing evictions to offering authentic, person-centered care. However, this remarkable work wouldn't be possible without the support of the community.
As they strive to raise $2.9 million, FaceToFace invites everyone to become a part of their mission, whether through volunteering time, donating, or engaging in various roles within the organization. The diverse volunteer opportunities available reflect their commitment to community engagement, making it clear that FaceToFace is a place where individuals can make a multifaceted impact on the lives of others. FaceToFace is not just serving meals but changing lives and building a stronger, more compassionate Philadelphia.