If you’re reading a Spoon article, you probably like to eat good food. Maybe that’s a salad overflowing with fresh veggies or a juicy steak or sizzling mac n’ cheese. You’ve likely tried some of Philly’s delicious restaurants or have cooked meals with ingredients from its farmer’s markets. But these are luxuries that many people in Philly don’t have.

Photo courtesy of @philly_eats on Instagram

One in four people in Philly live below the poverty line, which means Philly has the highest rate of hunger among big cities – a title it has held for the past 20 years. In 2011, more than 464,000 Philly residents relied on SNAP funding (aka food stamps).

The problem: Philly Hunger

  • This affects the kids of Philly.
  • More than 3/4 of the children who attend Philly public schools qualified for free or reduced price lunch in 2010 (which means their families make up to 30% and 85% above the federal poverty line respectively).
  • The prevalence of obesity among school-aged children in Philly is around 20%.

All of this means that children in Philly are not getting enough of the right foods – and school food traditionally hasn’t been helping. Although the school district has made substantial improvements, the school food tends to be unhealthy and of poor quality. Plus students often bring in their own processed snacks from corner stores instead of eating school lunch.

The Vetri Community Partnership provides an amazing solution.

Photo courtesy of @vetricommunity on Instagram

  • “Eatiquette” is the Vetri method for school lunch that changes school food from a cafeteria assembly with unhealthy and unappetizing food to a full round-table meal with extremely healthy, fresh meals filled with a variety of interesting dishes.
  • Students not only get more nutritious meals, but they also learn how to serve each other and eat in a respectful manner.
  • This method works. The foundation has served $526,540 healthy, family style meals since its founding in 2012.

Photo courtesy of @pizzeriavetri on Instagram

So if you want to hear about this amazing organization and more, come to JMHH 340 on 4/20 at 5pm as UPenn Spoon partners with UPenn SEN to welcome Jeff Benjamin, the co-founder of the Vetri Community Partnership. He is also the COO of Vetri Restaurants – think: Amis, Osteria, Vetri, Pizzeria Vetri, Alla Spina, Lospiedo.

If all of these reasons aren’t enough, enjoy Pizzeria Vetri Pizza at the event. More details can be found on the Facebook event.