Governor and First Lady Wolf visit Sharing Excess in Philadelphia

Evan Ehlers
Sharing Excess
Published in
4 min readAug 5, 2022

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Hi friends!

Evan here. I’m the founder of Sharing Excess, a Philadelphia-based nonprofit that rescues and redistributes food surplus to communities free of charge. I’m so excited to be using Medium to finally start sharing a more intimate perspective of our work with awesome stories, just like this one :)

Last Friday, we hosted Pennsylvania’s very own, First Lady Frances & Governor Tom Wolf, and PA Secretary of Agriculture Russell Redding at our wholesale rescue operation in the Philadelphia Wholesale Produce Market (PWPM). It’s pretty mind-blowing to reflect on the visit — how they came all the way from Harrisburg to visit us; a scrappy-grass-roots organization that started from sharing unused meal swipes on a college campus.

They rolled up their sleeves and got to work.

It was an honor working side by side with such prominent figures to sort produce, share life stories, and talk about the future of food access in Pennsylvania. They truly were such warm-hearted and genuine people — the whole visit was very easygoing while also impactful.

Here we are walking the nearly 700,000 sq ft facility (that’s about the size of 14 football fields).

Talking about food innovation on a macro level was engaging and inspiring — both the Governor and First Lady have indispensable knowledge of the complex socioeconomic ecosystem of Pennsylvania. I was able to share the important role PWPM and its vendors have played as one of the first wholesale produce markets to support a sorting and redistribution process of this magnitude. Together, we have rescued 5.5 million pounds of produce and redistributed it to local communities that lack access to fresh and affordable produce. Our yield hovers around 91% with the remaining 9% turned into compost and animal feed by Do Good Foods.

Our sorting operation in the Philadelphia Wholesale Produce Market

Afterward, we had a special opportunity to pitch our growth plan for expanding our work across Pennsylvania. Strategic discussions ranged from creating jobs and student opportunities to improving the agricultural surplus space with technology. We even identified ways Sharing Excess’s model can support rural farms and communities.

“Sharing Excess meets an incredibly important need, and I am impressed and inspired by how they turned their passion for people into an impactful organization,” says First Lady Wolf. “The thoughtfulness of this operation helps increase food access, saving what would be wasted product, and ultimately fighting food insecurity in Pennsylvania.”

Since 2015, Governor Wolf and First Lady Wolf have worked to reduce barriers to access to food, strike out food apartheid, invest in improved infrastructure for the charitable food system, and support improved access to local, nutritional products for families across the Commonwealth. (Read more here)

So what will come from this?

More than anything: great connections with great people, a more macro focus for Sharing Excess, and additional sorting volunteers if the Governor and First Lady ever find themselves with some free time ;)

Overall, Sharing Excess is looking for opportunities to do more. We want to amplify our impact on a large scale and this visit was a huge step in the right direction.

Want to get involved?

We’re doing a lot of growing and we could use a lot of help. We’re looking for team members, funders, volunteers, and advisors — to name a few. Check out our website to learn more & reach out to contact@sharingexcess.com to get started. The journey has only just begun.

Stay happy, Evan.

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