Gwen Boyd said she cooks her best dishes for her church’s food cupboard. The smell of tomato sauce and chicken Alfredo filled the 200-year-old church grounds last Wednesday — a landmark that was once part of the Underground Railroad.
But church trustees of the Campbell African Methodist Episcopal Church said plates would be empty, volunteers wouldn’t be organized and the doors would be closed if Phil Robinson wasn’t organizing the cupboard every week.
“Phil’s a hero,” church trustee Wayne Smith said. “He makes himself the backbone [of the network].”
Phil Robinson visits a different church every day to coordinate volunteers and hand out grocery bags of food to make sure families living in poverty are fed. Each bag generally has boxes of cereal and noodles paired with canned meat and condensed milk.
“There’s more people hungry now than ever before,” Robinson said. “People are just running out of food.”
Robinson said he used to tell two prostitutes by the corner of Frankford Avenue and Sellers Street he would convince them to stop soliciting. The two eventually went to one of his food cupboards routinely and now hold legitimate jobs, he said.
“It’s like planting a seed and watching a flower grow,” Robinson said. “When someone turns their life around and says ‘thank you Brother Phil’ that’s better than money.”
Several area churches schedule their outreach programs on different days so area residents have support throughout the week.
Rations are given out on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at the Second Baptist Church at 1801 Meadow Street. The Mizpah Seventh Day Adventist Church at 4355 Paul St. gives out food on Tuesday while the Frankford Group Ministry at 1511 Orthodox St. runs on Thursday.