The team behind Everybody Eats, a chef-led food drive that gives out free meals and essentials in Philly, is gearing up for its next event. The third Everybody Eats will take place this Saturday, July 11, at Smith Playground at 25th and Snyder in Point Breeze. Several Philly restaurants are donating to the food drive and acting as drop-off points for donations.
Elijah Milligan, one of the organizers of Everybody Eats, says they’re planning for at least 1,000 people on Saturday.
The first Everybody Eats took place in early June, when a group of Philly chefs were looking for a way to help support the community following the looting and property damage that occurred in response to the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody. Chefs Stephanie Willis, Aziza Young, Kurt Evans, Gregory Headen, Malik Ali, and Milligan — all also part of Cooking for the Culture, a collective founded by Milligan and Evans that highlights the work of Black chefs — started organizing what they thought would be a small food drive in West Philly. But word spread very quickly in the Philly restaurant community, and other chefs and owners starting asked how they could pitch in.
By the time the event took place at 52nd and Girard on June 5, less than a week after the organizers started planning it, they were able to give out 600 bags of food, along with essentials like diapers and toiletries. Building off that momentum, they set up another Everybody Eats for Juneteenth, with an event in West Philly earlier in the day followed by a cookout in North Philly.
For Saturday’s Everybody Eats in South Philly, they’re partnering with a church near Smith Playground that also works with activist organization 215 People’s Alliance and runs a community garden in the neighborhood.
Kalaya, Vernick Food & Drink, Cry Baby, the Fork/High Street on Market/A.Kitchen group, and the Cheu/Bing Bing Dim Sum/Nunu group are all providing food. Those restaurants, plus Mike’s BBQ, River Twice, Hardena, South Philly Barbacoa, and June BYOB in South Philly; Jezabel’s and Local 44 in West Philly; and Poe’s Sandwich Joint and Helm in Kensington, are also collecting donations of household goods and non-perishable food for anyone who wants to stop by and drop items off. The team is hoping to have donations in by Friday night, so they have time to set everything up before the event kicks off Saturday at 2 p.m.
Volunteers will find an event that’s more than a food giveaway, with live music and a session with local politicians looking to hear from the community.
The best way to describe it is as a community event, Milligan says: “We want to it be fun, and we want to draw a crowd. But at the end of the day, the goal is still always to make sure we’re feeding people.”
Attendees are asked to wear masks and follow social distancing guidelines.