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Food pantry lets hungry be selective

TEXT OF STORY

Steve Chiotakis: Thousands of Americans will put together a Thanksgiving meal today with help from a food bank. In Philadelphia, one place has found a new way to distribute food to the hungry. Joel Rose reports.


Joel Rose: The Community Food Center in North Philadelphia isn't a typical food pantry. It's bigger and there are more foods to choose from.

Marty Meloche: Think of a 7-11 store. The clients come in, and they can walk through the store with a grocery cart and accumulate whatever will fit in the basket.

Marty Meloche teaches food marketing at Saint Joseph's University in Philadelphia. Meloche and his students designed the community cupboard as an alternative to regular food pantries, where the staff chooses what goes in the box.

Meloche: You're actually picking the food, you're selecting what you want. You're not getting stuff you don't want.

Meloche says that means less waste and the clients feel more comfortable. There is unfortunately no shortage of demand. Since it opened earlier this month, Meloche says the cupboard has gone through three times as much food as he expected.

In Philadelphia, I'm Joel Rose for Marketplace.

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