Summer fun translates to a difference for others…

I can‘t believe it’s already been 30 days since I left my hectic role in HR supporting the US Vaccines business to start my PULSE assignment at The Food Trust in Philadelphia! My days of multiple meetings, conference calls, IPOs and countless deliverables have been replaced with discussions on social issues, planning for sustainability, attending farmers markets, summer camp, a Teen Chef Battle and a Night Market with 80 food trucks and vendors. Sounds like it is all fun and games right? It’s not; it’s very serious business that requires a lot of hard work!

The mission of The Food Trust is making healthy food available to all. This means ensuring access to affordable, nutritious food, and information to make healthy choices. The approach to achieving that is comprehensive and includes: improving food environments and teaching nutrition education in schools, working with corner store owners to increase healthy offerings and help customers make healthier choices, managing farmers markets in communities that lack access to affordable produce, and encouraging grocery store development in underserved communities.

Get HYPE Philly! is a citywide high-energy, youth focused collective impact initiative promoting positive youth development in Philadelphia. Get HYPE Philly! is a group of 10 nonprofit partners, led by The Food Trust and funded by GSK that empowers youth leadership to live healthier lives, and create healthier communities. The Get Hype Philly! program has developed 1,525 youth leaders who are changing their schools and communities and have affected 5,825 youths in just 2.5 years.

So what have I learned?

I have always just expected to have access to healthy and affordable food; in fact, I’ve had it in abundance… and have taken it for granted.  The effort to make it happen for those in underserved communities is herculean.  But The Food Trust’s doing just that…. With 21 active farmers markets, 350 healthy corner stores in Philly and dozens more access points throughout the region. And young people can do amazing things when given the right information, support, activities, and opportunities to live healthier lives and pay it forward in their communities. Get Hype Philly! does just that by developing youth leaders , supporting the building of  school wellness programs, and raising awareness to nutrition and agriculture.

So yes, for me, my time here is flying, because it’s fun making a difference for others. My contributions feel small in comparison to my colleagues here at The Food Trust., but small as they are, I’m part of a noble mission that provides access to things I have always had without effort. I am seeing the world through a different lens, and I am honored and humbled by this work.

Amidst all the fun of the summer events and activities there have been two horrific events in the US – Charlottesville and the flooding in Texas. The Food Trust’s response has been nothing short of astonishing and a true reflection of the DNA of The Food Trust culture. I have attached the link to the public response to Charlottesvillve:

I’m just so pleased to be part of this organization …I pinch myself every morning.  Thank you GSK for providing this opportunity to me!



  1. Mary Kate, Thank you for your blog. I live in Philadelphia and was not aware of The Food Trust. It sounds like exciting and important work you are doing. Do they need volunteers? I will also google and learn more about the organization and the initiative. Thanks again.

  2. Great educational blog – love hearing the word spread! And I know you are having an amazing impact! Enjoy the next 5 months!

    1. Thanks Silvia. I’m enjoying hearing about your amazing journey as well. I’m so happy it all worked out. We have a fellow at The Food Trust from Malawi. He is here to learn more about food access and nutrition . He’s coming home in the next couple weeks. I’m going to connect him to you when he returns. I’ll keep you posted.

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