The Green Light Pantry at Casa del Carmen in North Philadelphia, an agency of Catholic Social Services of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, graduated its first class March 25. Also during the event, the United Way and the Philadelphia Eagles participated in a groundbreaking for a children’s jungle gym and garden beds that will be used to grow fruits and vegetables for the Green Light Pantry.

The pantry’s graduates enrolled in a six-month program for two days a week designed to improve their families’ health and nutrition. The participants were identified as having significant health issues, and they reside in low-income neighborhoods with high rates of food insecurity. The program includes health checks, classes on dietary and nutritional needs, food preparation and access to fresh fruits and vegetables.

The Green Light Pantry is one of two food pantries in the city that provide only nutritious foods to clients as well as free nutrition workshops, health screenings and other services. Developed by the Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger, the pantry focuses on promoting healthy eating while helping low-income families put food on the table. It provides families with foods categorized as “green light foods” which ranks items based on their nutritional value and USDA dietary guidelines. (Photos by Sarah Webb)