Faces of hunger: Sholanda Purdy
PHILADELPHIA - November 27, 2012 (WPVI) -- While the job picture has been slowly improving, there are still areas in our region where the unemployment rate is in the double digits, far exceeding the national average.
That translates into nearly a million people not having enough money to buy food.
30-year old Sholanda Purdy has tried a variety of jobs but nothing really stuck. This time last year she'd been unemployed for nearly a year, surviving on her husband's salary alone.
"We were able to make it meet but just barely scraping by," she told Action News. "We were really living paycheck to paycheck."
She'd always loved to cool. Then one day she ran into an old friend.
"She had a chef's jacket on, and I asked her, 'What are you doing?' And she says, 'Oh, I'm in this culinary training with Philabundance and it's really great. It's a free program.'"
It's called the Philabundance Community Kitchen (PCK) and it runs out of a homeless shelter in North Philadelphia. For Sholanda, the location hit home.
"As a kid, I was in that shelter," she said. "As a kid, I grew up in the shelter system."
Through PCK, Sholanda learned the skills she needs to get a restaurant job. The meals students prepare in training feed the shelter's residents.
"It's for feeding people," said Philabundance volunteer Gregory Morgan. "I mean, you can't get better than that."
Morgan volunteers for Philabundance at least once a week.
He also does ministry, works with teen boys in the juvenile justice system, and feeds the homeless every Saturday.
"You're one paycheck away from becoming one of those people," said Morgan. "It's just about helping people who need help."
Thanks to Philabundance, Sholanda is now a cook at the Hard Rock Café in Center City Philadelphia.
She's forever thankful that life is no longer a struggle.
If you'd like to help families in need this season, click the 6abc Dunkin Donuts holiday food drive page.
philadelphia, local/state, matt o'donnell
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