Gemma’s Angels, Ltd. is a not-for-profit organization recognized by the IRS under its tax exempt 501(c)3 regulations. Since 2006, Gemma's Angels has distributed tens of thousands of pounds of fresh fruit and vegetables to a growing list of homeless shelters, soup kitchens, and food banks in Dauphin and Lebanon Counties in Pennsylvania. We supplement--but do not replace--the work of the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank which provides food to over 900 partner agencies in Central PA running from the northern to the southern border of the state.
We want to change the way we feed the hungry.
- Provide fresh fruits and vegetables to homeless shelters, soup kitchens and food banks in Dauphin and Lebanon Counties, and
- Encourage at-risk children and their families to make healthier food choices, increasing their access to fresh, local food and teaching them to live more sustainably.
Poverty should never be an obstacle to eating fresh fruits and vegetables.
How we address immediate needs
- We buy fresh fruit and vegetables from local farmers--or local gardeners--and distribute that produce free to soup kitchens, shelters and food banks using our new Mobile Farmer's Market.
- Using the Mobile Farmer's Market, we operate an All-Kids Mobile Farmer's Market where school-age children can pick and choose their own produce to take home to supplement weekend feeding programs and we add an educational component about nutrition.
- We operate a Reverse Food Truck which appears at local public events and collects food (produce) vs. selling food.
How we work on long-term solutions to the conditions that perpetuate poverty
- Good nutrition is a necessary, though not sufficient, condition for attaining and maintaining good health. Good health is a necessary condition for being able to work gainfully, particularly in the manual occupations in which people living in multi-generational poverty are most likely--but not necessarily--are able to find employment.
- We commit ourselves to developing and conducting educational programs for families and children to actively engage them in generating enthusiasm about eating local, fresh food and living sustainably.
Growth of Our Distribution Network
- Established a client list of over 30 sites including shelters, food pantries and soup kitchens that receive our fresh fruit and vegetables.
- Developed relationships with several local farmers and wholesalers to source our produce.
- Won a $20,000 Gaming Grant in 2016 from Dauphin County to start a Mobile Farm Market to transport our produce to our client sites
- We've also established an All-Kids Farmer's Market which is available to visit school back pack programs, summer camps and food banks to allow children to choose their own take-home produce. This program will give kids a sense of responsibility and generate enthusiasm about eating fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Conducted Christmas parties at four area shelters serving nearly 1,000 homeless boys and girls for the past 22 years.
- Established the Donate-a-Tomato program allowing for home gardeners to easily donate their harvest.
- Started an awards program called the Spirit of Gemma Awards recognizing groups, businesses and individuals who provide services caring for the poor, the working poor and the homeless.
- Established the Farmer Andy & Andrea Project and Andy's & Andrea's Farm in concert with the Foundation for Better Health, which teaches school-age children about sustainability, the importance of farming and the importance of eating five fresh fruits and vegetables a day. PS, not to worry, look for Farmer Andrea soon!
- Future Program Wish List
- Assisting inner city-based residents to build their own gardens, both individually and as groups.
- An interactive, traveling children's show featuring veggie and fruit characters promoting nutrition education designed for pre-school and elementary age children and summer camps.
How to Donate to Food Pantries (Like A Boss)
Did you know that hunger affects 1 in every 8 Americans? For context, that's nearly 42 million people, including 13 million children and more than five million seniors. Fortunately, food banks and food pantries across America are here to help. But they can't do their work without your support.