Nutritional Development Services
Archdiocese of Philadelphia
222 North 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
PH: (215) 895-3470
FX: (215) 895-0830
Office Hours: 8:30am to 4:30pm
Nutritional Development Services (NDS) assists the Archbishop of Philadelphia to fulfill Jesus' command to "Feed my lambs ... Feed my sheep."
NDS combines two major food functions that in many other dioceses are divided between at least two agencies:
NDS serves no individual directly but with government and private resources, information, education, and inspiration it enables others to do so. NDS empowers and enables organizations and persons with resources to feed children and the poor.
- It provides government-supported meals to schools, childcare centers and other organizations serving children.
- It collects and provides food to organizations serving the poor.
The mission of NDS is to provide meals, food assistance and additional support to organizations serving children and the poor as an extension of the service and mission of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia.
The NDS logo is a reminder to us of the miracle of the loaves and the fishes. Jesus is teaching the crowds at length and when it gets late the disciples ask him to send the crowd away so that people can buy themselves some food. Jesus directs the disciples to give the crowd food themselves. The disciples complain that they do not have nearly enough food for so many. Jesus tells them to go and see what they do have. They bring it to him and with it he feeds the five thousand.
There are many lessons and inspiration for us in this event.
- Children are in our care and are being taught at length
- We have to try and feed the multitude ourselves
- We have to find out what is available
- We must work with what we have
- We have to be generous with what we have
- We must trust
Nutritional Development Services of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia participates in the charitable mission of the Church through its ministry of food and advocacy on behalf of those who are hungry in our community. We are conscious of our Judeao-Christian tradition even as we serve men, women, and children of all faith traditions.
Hunger Awareness in the Judaeo-Christian Tradition
How can it be that even today there are still people dying of hunger? …Christians must learn to make their act of faith in Christ by discerning His voice in the cry for help that rises from this world of poverty. (Pope John Paul II, Novo Millennio Ineunte, no. 50, Jan. 2001)
This probing question from Pope John Paul II in his document "at the beginning of the new millennium" was uttered nearly a decade ago, yet it echoes a prophetic call to both feed the hungry and address the root causes of hunger in the world that extends back to the Jewish prophets over 2500 years ago:
This, rather, is the fasting that I wish: … Sharing your bread with the hungry … and not turning your back on your own…If you bestow your bread on the hungry and satisfy the afflicted, then light shall rise for you in the darkness, and the gloom shall become for you like midday. (Isaiah 58: 6a, 7a, 7d, 10)
The New Testament echoes the Christian community's embracing this prophetic stance:
Jesus said to them, "Whoever has two cloaks should share with the person who has none. And whoever has food should do likewise." (Luke 3: 11)
If a brother or sister has nothing to wear and has no food for the day, and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well," but you do not give them the necessities of the body, what good is that? So also faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead. (James 2: 15-17)
The early Church Fathers even claimed that feeding the hungry was a matter of justice:
Not to enable the poor to share in our goods is to steal from them and deprive them of life. The goods we possess are not ours, but theirs. (St. John Chrystostom)
More than performing works of mercy, we are paying a debt of justice. (St. Gregory the Great)
The Second Vatican Council's Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World used blunt language to highlight hunger as a moral tragedy of our time:
People hounded by hunger call upon those better off…Since there are so many people prostrate with hunger in the world, this sacred council urges all, both individuals and governments, to remember the aphorism of the Fathers, "Feed the man dying of hunger, because if you have not fed him, you have killed him." (Gaudium et Spes, 9. & 61, emphasis added)
The Catechism of the Catholic Church (§ 2831) links the Lord's Prayer with our call as Christians to be actively engaged in alleviating the problem of hunger in the world:
But the presence of those who hunger because they lack bread opens up another profound meaning of this petition [Give us this day our daily bread]. The drama of hunger in the world calls Christians who pray sincerely to exercise responsibility toward their brethren, both in their personal behavior and in their solidarity with the human family.
Recent Church Pronouncements on Hunger
In 1996, the Pontifical Council for Human and Christian Promotion Cor Unum (the name refers to "one heart" that beats in rhythm with the heart of Christ for the hungry multitudes) issued the Church's seminal document on hunger, entitled World Hunger - A Challenge for All: Development in Solidarity. Calling hunger a "scandal that has lasted too long" the council declares that the scourge of hunger "threatens not only people's lives but also their dignity." The document commits the Church to a plan of action that seeks to remedy not only hunger but the related problems of malnutrition and food insecurity. Calling for solidarity among all nations, the council challenges us all to address the root causes of hunger, which are economic, sociocultural, and political in nature. Hunger is staked out as a moral imperative, and therefore a matter of justice in "rendering to God what is God's" by working to ensure that the blessings of creation are justly shared by all. The document closes by referring to hunger as "A Call to Love" and invites all people of good will to join the battle to eradicate hunger and in so doing "become providence for our fellow human beings."
In 2002, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops issues a statement entitled A Place at the Table: A Catholic Recommitment to Overcome Poverty and to Respect the Dignity of All God's Children. In this document, they remind us that "A table is where people come together for food. For many, there is not enough food and, in some cases, no table at all…. Many people have no place at the table. …As Catholics, we must come together with a common conviction that we can no longer tolerate the moral scandal of poverty in our land and so much hunger and deprivation in our world."
In 2008, Catholic Charities embarked on its nationwide Campaign to Reduce Poverty in America with the goal of cutting poverty in half by 2020. The Campaign identifies five key pillars as part of its efforts, one of which is to improve access for the poor to healthy and nutritious food. Specific aspects of their legislative advocacy agenda include strengthening the Food Stamp Program, the Commodity Supplemental Food Program, and the Community Food and Nutrition Program. In 2009, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops launched an initiative spearheaded by Catholic Relief Services entitled Catholics Confront Global Poverty, with reducing global hunger as a prime focus of its activities.
In a November 2009 address at the Opening Session of the World Summit on Food Security held by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization Pope Benedict XVI called hunger "the most cruel and concrete sign of poverty," and stated that "opulence and waste are no longer acceptable when the tragedy of hunger is assuming ever greater proportions." He reiterated a key point in his most recent encyclical that it is necessary to cultivate "a public conscience that considers food and access to water as universal rights of all human beings, without distinction or discrimination" (Caritas en Veritate, 27). The pope proclaimed that "the Catholic Church will always be concerned for efforts to defeat hunger" and therefore the Church will remain firmly committed in its words and actions to support actions taken in solidarity to assure food security for all peoples.
Administratively, NDS falls within the Secretariat for Catholic Human Services and all its reporting and administrative directions flow through that entity; but NDS is also a separately incorporated institution within the Archdiocese with its own articles of incorporation, members, bylaws, and board of directors. This corporate structure governs NDS's operational activities.
|Board of Directors 2012
|Reverend Monsignor Daniel Sullivan, President
|| Lorraine M. Knight, Director
|Joseph J. Sweeney, Jr., Executive Vice President
|| Anne H. Ayella, Assistant Director for Community Relations
|Regina DiGuilio, Vice President
|| Robert S. Jones, Assistant Director for Government Programs
|Dennis E. Riley, Treasurer
|| Lizanne F. Hagedorn, Assistant Director for Finance and Operations
|Anne Murphy, Secretary
|| Erinn J. Hill, Associate Director for School and Summer Programs
|| Denise Hopkins, Administrator for Community Food Program
|Dr. Steven J. Porth, PhD
|Sister Mary Small, SSJ
|Francis E. Swiacki, Jr.
|Sister Shaun Thomas, IHM