Asociación Puertorriqueños en Marcha

The Food Buying Club Outreach and Volunteer Coordinator


Project Goal: The APM Food Buying Club would like to build a strong volunteer program that will increase our capacity to serve existing members more efficiently and effectively while simultaneously allowing us to expand our reach to serve more lower-income families in the Philadelphia area. The Philly Fellow will develop a system to recruit, train, manage volunteers and promote the FBC in the community.


Agency Information


Agency Mission
Helping families achieve their greatest potential.

Address  1900 N. 9th Street

Total number of Agency Staff Members  265

Agency Budget   $38,000,000


Job Description

The fellow’s duties and responsibilities:

  • Assess program needs and match them with appropriate volunteer roles and skills
  • Develop a complete volunteer strategy that includes volunteer position descriptions, policies and procedures
  • Identify and develop strategic, sustainable relationships with sources of appropriate volunteers
  • Create volunteer training and procedures manual
  • Plan and conduct volunteer orientation and training kit
  • Develop volunteer screening and “hiring” tools and procedures
  • Develop and implement a volunteer recruitment strategy
  • Develop system for tracking skill development of and providing feedback to volunteers, and ways to recognize volunteer contributions
  • Create opportunities/development plan for volunteers to increase their responsibilities and skills

Skills/qualifications a fellow should have to succeed in the position:

  • Ability to communicate effectively; Write/speak clearly, active listener
  • Strong interpersonal skills and ability to work cooperatively with a diverse range of people
  • Detail-oriented and thorough; Record keeping skills
  • Highly organized and ability to multi-task
  • Client-oriented; Ability to learn, anticipate, understand and respond to the needs of residents/clients
  • Proficient in basic computer applications
  • Ability to work independently and as a member of a team
  • Knowledge of trends and resources related to volunteerism
  • Knowledge and understanding of issues and dynamics within families dealing with hunger and poverty


Community Need

Specific community need that the Philly Fellow will address:
Philadelphia has over 186,000 people – 60,000 of whom are children – living in deep poverty. Poverty is known to be the principal cause of hunger. Food hardship is the inability to afford enough food. In Eastern North Philadelphia (ENP), where APM’s Food Buying Club (FBC) is located, a disproportionate number of families are poor and hungry, households operate with an annual budget of $4,999-$15,000, nearly half (49.6%) of families with children experience food hardship.  With as little as $200 per month to spend on groceries, these families put 20-60% of their annual income toward food alone.  Additionally, as a result of limited income and setting elements, residents in ENP face higher rates of chronic disease: 44% of the population suffers from hypertension; 33% suffers from obesity; and 18% from diabetes.

As food costs rise and nutrition benefits are reduced, assisting families afford healthy food has become our priority. In 2014, APM FBC began targeting residents of ENP that contend with high combined rates of poverty and chronic disease related to health and lifestyle using guiding principles of the Social Determinants of Health.  APM’s FBC is the only program in Philadelphia that works to increase the buying power of lower income residents for fresh, quality produce. Our approach is different from other existing community-based food distribution programs because our primary focus is to provide a financial benefit to the targeted households. Our secondary goal is provide a way for our clients to enjoy a healthy lifestyle as families in other parts of the city do.

The APM FBC model works. Since August 2014, APM FBC has served 450 households, saved cumulatively over $81,000 and brought over 35,000 lbs. of affordable, quality fresh produce to our neighborhoods. To reach more families experiencing poverty and hunger in our area, we must develop strategies to extend our reach into other lower-income neighborhoods.       “USDA Releases 2013 Household Food Security Data.”The Center for Hunger-Free Communities. Drexel University, 03 Sept. 2014.    U.S.BLS,ConsumerExpenditureSurvey,August27,2014.”Hunger in America 2014.”Feeding America. Westatand the Urban Institute, Aug. 2014.     “Social Determinants of Health.” Social Determinants of Health. Web. 31 Aug. 2015.


How the agency addresses this need, and how the new capacity created by this fellow will help alleviate the problem:
APM’s Food Buying Club is a brand new community-based program. It is the local, pop-up element of our distribution model that allows us to meet the stated needs of our residents where they are. The ability to grow and leverage volunteer hours will allow the FBC to extend its reach and serve more families in the Philadelphia area. The Philly Fellow will work closely with the current FBC Coordinator to develop a process for maintaining positive relationships with FBC members and establish a strategy for leveraging volunteer hours. The Philly Fellow’s functions will be to develop a strategy for recruiting, screening and coordinating volunteers; create materials and standard procedures for training and supervising volunteers; planning and facilitating outreach activities to increase awareness of the FBC to members of the community; and formalizing coordinated outreach of FBC through neighboring community organizations. By supporting these efforts, the Philly Fellow will help APM’s Food Buying Club work to reduce the effects of poverty and hunger and create opportunities for economic mobility in our area.


The organization’s experience operating anti-poverty programming of this nature:
Asociación Puertorriqueños en Marcha (APM) finds collaborations and capacity building critical in the planning & implementation process of any initiative. The organization has a strong track record in the provision of supportive services and implementing community and economic development strategies to meet the stated and holistic needs of families in Eastern North Philadelphia. Established in 1971, APM works in three major areas: human services, health services and community economic development. APM’s services are provided in a bi-lingual and multi-cultural setting in response to our diverse customer base. Our health and human services are provided city-wide and consist of four mental health clinics, a primary care clinic  where patients obtain medical services, health promotions and drug and alcohol treatment. Our human service division includes a 4-star Head Start program and daycare facility, children, youth and family support, and early intervention counseling. APM is also a designated Community Umbrella Agency (CUA) that oversees the care of 400 families within the 24th and 26th Philadelphia Police Districts. Since 1990, APM has engaged stakeholders and empowered community residents to transform their neighborhood to suit their needs and achieve their goals through comprehensive, strategic planning. The Food Buying Club’s program model is no different. Through it, APM aims to engaging residents and stakeholders in the process to achieving sustainable solutions reduce the impact of poverty and hunger in our area.


Fellowship Logistics


Fellow orientation plan:
The Philly Fellow will receive general orientation to APM by Human Resources and more comprehensive orientation of the Community Economic Development department. Through orientation with Human Resources, the Philly Fellow will receive information about our policies and safety and operating procedures. Meeting with executive staff members, the fellow will receive an overview of our three program areas (Health, Human Services and Community Economic Development), organizational structure and history. Shadowing members of our Community Economic Development staff, the fellow will learn more about the community in which we work and receive outreach orientation and training.


Name and title of the fellow’s immediate supervisor:
Bridget Palombo, APM Food Buying Club Coordinator


Plans for supervision of the fellow:
Bridget Palombo, Coordinator for APM Food Buying Club will supervise this project. The fellow will work closely with the supervisor, have weekly debriefings and planning meetings with their supervisor and participate in team meetings when necessary/appropriate.


Will fellow be working at the same address listed above?


Will the fellow have their own…             

Office?  Fellow will share  Desk?  Fellow will share  Computer?  Fellow will share


The approximate percentage of time the fellow will work…

Independently  40  

As a team member in a group setting  20

As a team leader in a group setting  40


Will the fellow be expected to travel as part of the position?  Yes

If so, how often and where?   Yes – Travel is local within the City of Philadelphia; 1-4 trips per week.


Will the fellow need the following to carry out the position…

A driver’s license?  Yes

Their own car?   No