Asociación Puertorriqueños en Marcha

FBC Community Outreach and Volunteer Coordinator


Project Goal: The APM Food Buying Club will 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
Asociacion Puertorriquenos en Marcha (APM) is a Latino-based health, human services and community development organization that assists families to achieve their full potential in life.

Address  1900 N. 9th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19122-2024

Total number of Agency Staff Members  339

Agency Budget  41,497,862

Job Description

The fellow’s duties and responsibilities:         

  • Assess program needs and match them with appropriate volunteer roles and skills
  • Revise and improve APM FBC’s volunteer strategy
  • Identify and develop strategic, sustainable relationships with sources of appropriate volunteers
  • Implement and revise volunteer training and procedures manuals
  • Plan and conduct volunteer orientations and training materials
  • Develop volunteer screening and “hiring” tools and procedures
  • Improve APM FBC’s 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:

Asociación Puertorriqueños en Marcha’s  (APM)  Food  Buying  Club  (FBC)  was  designed  to  address  the food  hardship  issues  being  faced  by  the  families  in  Philadelphia. 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. In this part of our city where households operate with an annual budget of $4,999-$15,000, nearly half (49.6%) of families with children experience food hardship.(1)  With as little as $200 per month to spend on groceries, these families put 20-60% of their annual income toward food alone.(2)  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; 39% suffers from obesity; and 18% from diabetes. APM recognizes that these social-health determinants are due to built environment and household economics. Many families in the area have limited buying power making quality fresh produce a luxury item. In addition to high poverty, 26% have low to no walkable access to healthy foods.(3)  As food costs rise and food benefits are reduced, assisting families afford a healthy and fulfilling lifestyle is our first priority. Our goal is provide a way for our clients to enjoy the same healthy lifestyle that people in other parts of our city have regular access to. The Food Buying Club takes an approach to food access that is different from other existing food distribution programs primarily because our focus is to provide a lasting financial benefit to targeted households.     In 2014, the Food Buying Club was conceived as a lean start-up community business model that reduces food-cost-to-income ratios for low-income families by providing them with direct access to quality fresh produce at wholesale prices. The APM Food Buying Club is unique due to its potential for growth in scope and scale. The Pop-Up nature of the Food Buying Club allows it to remain highly adaptable to the changing and diverse needs in our neighborhoods while keeping overhead operation costs down. The FBC has become a viable system to deliver quality produce to Philadelphia residents at prices they can afford, in settings they trust and can reach. The result is increased buying power, cash savings and a stronger, healthier community.     APM’s Food Buying Club has proven its value and success. Since August 2014, APM FBC has served over 600 households, saved cumulatively over $112,000 and brought over 85,000 lbs. of affordable, high quality fresh produce to our neighborhoods. Our goal is to affect actual and lasting change in our city by reducing the percent of families experiencing food insecurity. To do this, we understand that we must continue developing our strategy to extend of the Food Buying Club through established community groups in Philadelphia’s low-income neighborhoods.    1. The Center for Hunger-Free Communities. “USDA Releases 2013 Household Food Security Data.” Drexel University, 03 Sept. 2014.    2. U.S. BLS, Consumer Expenditure Survey, August 27, 2014. “Hunger in America 2014.” Feeding America. Westat and the Urban Institute, Aug. 2014.     3. City of Philadelphia, Department of Public Health. “Food Access Report” Get Healthy Philly, Philadelphia, 2012.


How the new capacity created by this fellow will help strengthen the community and alleviate the problem:   

APM’s Food Buying Club is a brand new community-based program, just two years old. 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 a healthy volunteer base 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 APM’s FBC Coordinator as well as the Neighborhood Advisory Committee (NAC) and Sustainable Community Initiative (SCI) Coordinators and APM’s Financial Opportunities Center (FOC) Counselors to strengthen capacity of APM’s Food Buying Club to serve members/residents and develop a standard process for maintaining positive relationships with FBC members. The Philly Fellow’s role will include developing a strategy for recruiting, screening, training 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 and APM’s FOC service providers. 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.


Level of community involvement in the fellow’s project:

The FBC Outreach and Volunteer Coordinator will be expected to act as an ambassador for the program in the community. As such, the Philly Fellow will become knowledgeable about the community and active networks within it, interacting with residents, block captains and FBC members daily. The Philly Fellow will also develop relationships with other non-profits, community- and faith-based groups and participate in canvassing, community meetings, information workshops and resource fairs.


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; FBC 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? 

No (please list alternate work site below)     600 Diamond St, Philadelphia, PA 19122-1414


Will the fellow have their own…             

Office?  Fellow will share 
  Fellow will have their own
 Fellow will have their own


The approximate percentage of time the fellow will work…

Independently  30%          

As a team member in a group setting  30%

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?   1-4 trips per week within APM’s target neighborhood (within 1-2 miles).  1-2 times per month, the VISTA may attend meetings within the city of Philadelphia.


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

A driver’s license?  Yes

Their own car?   No