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26 Jan 2018

Sunday Suppers founder and director Linda Samost named 2018 Healthy Food and Food Access Innovator

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January 26, 2018 Category: Local Posted by:

ABOVE PHOTO:  Linda Samost


Linda Samost, founder and director of Sunday Suppers, a Philadelphia nonprofit focused on strengthening the health and well-being of low income families through the transformative power of family meals — was awarded first place in the category of the “Healthy Food and Food Access Innovator” during the 2018 Greater Philadelphia Social Innovations Awards, held annually by the Greater Philadelphia Social Innovations Journal. Linda was one of five nominees for this particular award and one of 20 top innovator award recipients, each representing a different category.

“I am honored to receive this award because it demonstrates that the work we have been doing at Sunday Suppers is touching people’s lives in deep ways and making a real difference,” Samost said. “I started the organization because I saw significant inequities in food access, education and family dynamics in impoverished neighborhoods and I knew something had to be done to change that. I look forward to making an even greater impact on more communities in need of healthy food as we open our second site in Germantown next month.”

Linda Samost founded Sunday Suppers in 2010, believing that regardless of income, neighborhood or culture, everyone is entitled to adequate, affordable and healthy food. Now in its seventh year, Sunday Suppers has served more than 18,000 meals to over 200 families at its current site in Kensington, which is one of the hungriest areas in the country, where 31 percent of the population reporting food insecurity compared to 18 percent nationally. Sixty percent of Kensington’s population lives on a household income of $25,000 or less. Throughout the growth and development of Sunday Suppers, Linda has been committed to incorporating the voices and needs of the community into the organization’s programs, while fostering an environment of mutual respect, inclusiveness, understanding and equality.

Sunday Suppers offers a five-month program centered around a weekly family meal where families help prepare a supper made of fresh, local, and healthy food, with ingredients that are familiar and affordable, served in a restaurant-like atmosphere. At the end of each meal, every family is given a “to-go” bag, with the ingredients and recipes from that day’s supper, to take home and make on their own, using the skills they learn in the program. Because a key component to healthy eating is having access to kitchen equipment, the organization provides needed equipment to families by securing donations of new and gently-used kitchen items.

Families in the program report a renewed sense of communication and cohesiveness within their own families, while being part of a larger, supportive community, in addition to healthier cooking and lifestyle behaviors.

The organization announced in December 2017 that it will be opening a second site in Germantown, a Philadelphia neighborhood where the obesity rate in adults is 30 percent and  36 percent in children, the poverty rate is 33 percent, with 43 percent of its children living in poverty. This site is a collaboration of the First Presbyterian Church of Germantown, Philadelphia Interfaith Hospitality Network and the Germantown Avenue Crisis Ministry. It will open its doors to Germantown families in February.

The Social Innovations Journal is a regionally-focused online publication and knowledge lab dedicated to social innovators and entrepreneurs. Its Philadelphia chapter holds the Greater Philadelphia Social Innovations Awards each year, honoring the region’s most passionate and accomplished social innovators and entrepreneurs and the work they do to make Greater Philadelphia a more inclusive, equitable, and thriving region of opportunity for all residents. This year’s award categories include: Anti-Violence; Arts and Culture- Civic Engagement, Community and Behavioral Health, Corporate, Education, Environment, Foundation, Government, Healthy Communities, Healthy Foods and Food Access, Higher Education, Housing and Community Development, Human Rights and Dignity, Not-for-Profit, Public Policy, Race and Gender, Social Enterprise, and Social Mobility.

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