PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Just days away from his inauguration, President-elect Joe Biden and future First Lady Dr. Jill Biden volunteered in South Philadelphia Monday to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. They are trying to help Philabundance shine a light on hunger issues in our region and beyond.
Just days before taking the oath of office, Joe Biden was in South Philadelphia stuffing boxes to be distributed around the area and bringing awareness to food insecurity.READ MORE: 'The Vaccination Dollars Are Essential': Sen. Bob Casey Says President Biden's COVID Relief Bill Will Increase Vaccinations
President-elect Biden and Dr. Biden spent an hour boxing up 200 kits of food. Philabundance CEO Loree Jones says she impressed upon the Bidens the ongoing food crises in America.
“The president-elect understands that we’ve seen 60% more people facing food insecurity and we have about 40% of those people are facing it for the first time,” Jones said.
“He seems to have a keen awareness of that fact so I’m hopeful that we’ll make things happy together,” said CEO of Feeding America Claire Babineaux-Fontenot.
Philabundance and Feeding America want to increase funding for SNAP, as well as food banks and pantries when the new administration begins.
In the meantime, distribution continues as both groups work to destigmatize using their services as COVID continues to stick around and keep people out of work.
“People who are facing hunger right now are hard-working, dedicated people who lost their jobs. Many of them recently because of COVID,” Babineaux-Fontenot said.
“We all know that one of our favorite quotes from King is ‘everybody can be great because everybody can serve.’ We saw that today we had a future leader of the free world, we also had our veterans, we have people who are formally food insecure,” Jones said.
Officials are hopeful the heightened awareness that comes with a president-elect lending a helping hand also heightens empathy for those in need.
Meanwhile, there is increased security in the nation’s capital and across the country as Delaware’s favorite son prepares to be inaugurated as president.READ MORE: Suspect In Allentown Shooting Found Dead In New York City, Police Say
The insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 has led to thousands of National Guard troops on the ground. Combined with promised demonstrations at state capitals over the weekend and the COVID-19 pandemic, culminating in the perfect storm for a virtual inauguration of Biden.
Beginning Monday, 11 events planned by the Biden Inaugural Committee will lead up to 12 p.m. Wednesday when Biden will be inaugurated. It all starts on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
“On Jan. 18, we’ll be partnering with organizations across the country to organize service events focused on COVID-19 relief efforts,” Biden said. “We hope you can help.”
Many of the events will be broadcasted on CBS3 as well.
CBS3’s Dan Koob contributed to this report.
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