“How a society treats its most vulnerable is always the measure of its humanity.”

Food insecurity is a major civic issue facing many Philadelphians. * Almost a quarter of Philadelphians are dealing with “food insecurity”, defined as a state of being without reliable access to a sufficient quality of affordable nutritious food.

Children from homes with persistent food insecurity have shown smaller gains in both reading and math than their food-secure counterparts.  Food insecure children miss school more frequently, are more likely to repeat a grade and have lower rates of graduation from high school than food-secure children.

A food-insecure child is a child who faces significant barriers to academic achievement, perpetuating a cycle of physical, behavioral, emotional and cognitive costs.  At Zia, we believe that all children should be equipped with the tools to succeed in every area of their lives.

A self-proclaimed foodie, Paula M. Jones loves everything about food and is always cooking something delicious.  She remembers fondly her own “Zia”, Italian for “auntie”, who would craft fabulous nutritious and balanced meals with day-fresh ingredients.

Paula realized that connecting her fellow foodies with those families without enough to eat would benefit her Philadelphia community.  Everyone deserves an “auntie”! She reached out to her local public elementary school, 100% of whose students live at or below poverty level, and began providing 8-10 dinners a month for a family with three children.

Dr. Mehran Yazdanian heard of Paula’s efforts and wanted to channel his passion for equality and social justice to benefit our society’s most vulnerable populations.  Zia was born!  Paula and Mehran formalized Zia, Incorporated as a not-for-profit organization with a mission to end hunger and food insecurity for children attending Philadelphia public schools.

Join us in our efforts to improve the lives of our society by giving the right tools to its most vulnerable members.

*Center for Hunger-Free Communities at Drexel University