Food Shelter Certified by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council by Jessie Donofrio

We are proud to announce national certification as a Women’s Business Enterprise by the WBEC-East, a regional certifying partner of the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC).

“We are a proud women-owned business and are excited to tout our WBE Certification on our website, to our clients, prospective clients and to the general public,” said Joanne Jordan, Co-Founder of Food Shelter Public Relations.

WBENC’s national standard of certification implemented by the WBEC-East is a meticulous process including an in-depth review of the business and site inspection. The certification process is designed to confirm the business is at least 51% owned, operated and controlled by a woman or women.

“With this certification we gain the opportunity to tap into a brand new market of businesses who are eager to work with women founders,” said Lorraine Gimblett, Co-Founder of Food Shelter Public Relations.

By including women-owned businesses among their suppliers, corporations and government agencies demonstrate their commitment to fostering diversity and the continued development of their supplier diversity programs.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Social Media Pitching by Tayah Price

Over the years, social media has become an integral part of our everyday lives. Twitter, Facebook and Instagram have made it easier for public figures such as celebrities, professional athletes and even reporters to become more accessible to us.

But how much is too much accessibility? Due to the nature of constantly being connected and online, PR pros are able to stay up to date with reporters and their work. With this in mind, it’s important to understand boundaries and which ones to not overstep. Read our tips below to understand the do’s and don’ts of social media pitching.  


Research Their Profile

Similar to the digital landscape, careers and jobs are constantly changing. Unfortunately, Cision and other PR tools don’t always have the capability of updating a reporter’s information in real time. Research their social media profiles to see what they’re currently doing. Did their beat change? Are they with a different publication? By doing so, this will make it easier for you to have a tailored pitch and to not make the mistake of pitching them a topic that’s irrelevant.  

Build A Relationship

Once you identify the reporters that you want to pitch and follow them on social media, start to engage with their posts. But don’t go overboard and reply to every single thing that they post. By building an actual relationship before you start pitching, this may help your chances of getting them to show interest in your story idea. 

Make Yourself A Valuable Resource

When pitching a reporter on social media, it’s important to provide them with everything they need. For example, if you notice a reporter is tweeting out questions to a specific topic or has shown interest in one—have links, photos, etc. ready to send via DM. It’s best practice to direct message a reporter these materials rather than publicly message them. 


Pitch Without Following

Before sending out that pitch, double-check to make sure you’re following that reporter. If not, it shows that you’re not personally interested in them or their work. 

Publicly Send Mass Pitches

As mentioned above, it’s okay to send a pitch via direct message. But the same doesn’t apply for your timeline. If you a pitch a reporter and they’re interested in your story, then they’re more than likely going to view your profile to see who you are and what you’re up to. It doesn’t look good if they see you tweeted that same pitch to 50 other reporters.

Use Facebook

Facebook is an intimate, family-friend oriented platform in comparison to Twitter. The last thing a reporter may want to see is a pitch in their messages that is designated for those closest to them.

A Twist on Your Next Philly Date Night by Kate McKeaney

Date night in the city can fall into a normal routine: choosing a restaurant, sitting at the bar for a drink ahead of your reservation, and getting extra crazy by walking home a different way than you came. Soon enough, the excitement of date night might become another routine event. It’s time to mix it up! 

Kick One (Or Two) Back

Start your night in the center of it all – a few steps past City Hall brings you to the front doors of Aqimero, a pan-Latin restaurant from the mind of Chef Richard Sandoval, nestled under The Ritz-Carlton. Sit in the vibrant, spacious lounge or snag a seat at the bar for pre-dinner cocktails; the Dragon Fruit Margarita is a huge hit. 

The Main Course

After drinks, walk five minutes up and over to Iron Hill Brewery and Restaurant, where you’ll find a wide selection of food and beer options without breaking the bank. If you’re into craft beer, go for a flight to pair with your dinner. It’s a totally different atmosphere from Aqimero and makes this stop a new experience. 

Roll the Dice

Literally. Fairmount Ave has been home to Thirsty Dice, the city’s first board game café, for about a year now. Bookshelves with over 800 games cover the walls, and their menus are filled with boozy shakes and game-themed cocktails. Take the Broad Street Line to Fairmount Station and walk a couple blocks to add some friendly competition to your date. Join the waitlist or call ahead for reservations to secure your spot.

Get Some Fresh Air

Unload from the night and take a walk through one of Philly’s many parks. Head east to Spruce Street Harbor Park through the end of September for their floating gardens and bright hammocks, or opt to go south for the quieter Rittenhouse Square. If you’re really trying to extend your date, go west from Thirsty Dice over to Kelly Drive, where you’ll see the Art Museum, Boathouse Row, and other sights for miles. 

Philly is an amazing city with hidden gems around every corner. Get out of your comfort zone and leave your date night bubble – all while getting your steps in.  


Women of Courage by Morgan Obidowski

On Wednesday, May 8, our team was fortunate enough to attend Lutheran Settlement House’s Women of Courage awards and breakfast. It was a celebration of not just courage, but resilience, strength and the power of women to create a community that lifts us up and allows us to see the best in ourselves and each other.

We urge you to watch this video that profiles the five honorees and to give to support the mission of Lutheran Settlement House. They are currently $2,500 away from their $15,000 fundraising goal. The campaign ends in May, and every dollar helps support a family in need, an adult seeking a GED, a woman looking for safe haven or a senior citizen seeking community. Donate now.

It’s called balance. #IWD2019 by Morgan Obidowski

The theme of International Women’s Day 2019 is #BalanceforBetter.

Balance starts at home. Better yet, it starts in the bathroom. The 532 billion-dollar beauty industry is dominated by men. Less than 30% of “personal care” companies have women in leadership positions. As of 2017, Coty, the parent company of dozens of fragrances, OPI, Philosophy, Rimmel and many more subsidiaries had zero women on the board and zero women executives. Revlon, whose subsidiaries include Almay, SinfulColors, CND and American Crew, had a board comprised of one-third women. And zero women executives.

This is an industry that is fueled by women. We have the purchasing power. We are buying toner, serums, concealer, dry shampoo, perfumes, lotions and lipsticks at rates that dwarf men. Yet, men are the ones reaping in hundreds of billions of dollars. I won’t even get into the why and the how this industry (a recession-proof one, at that) even exists in the first place but I am happy to tell you how to put your hard-earned money in the hands of smart, talented and brave women-led beauty companies.

Bonus! These companies are cruelty-free, too, because if you’re already making one good choice, go ‘head and make one more. (Fun fact: women-owned cosmetic companies tend to be safer because we are the ones wearing them and don’t want to put weird unknown stuff on OUR FACES.)

The Lip Bar. Super pigmented colors that are vegan, affordable and sold at Target – what more do you want?

H2O+. Face, body and hair care created with the idea that pure water is the most important first step to any product.

Oyin Handmade. Jamyla Bennu runs Oyin with her husband, Pierre, but we’re letting this one in because she started natural hair care line on her own in 2001 – and we love a good business/love story. P.S. if you have a squirmy kid that screams bloody murder when you comb their hair, go buy the Oh my glide! prestyling detangler right now.

Elate. Elate is at the heart of the conscious beauty movement and as they say: “the opposite of kindness is not cruelty, it is inattention.” So, pay attention. And make smart choices that push us to #BalanceforBetter.

At Food Shelter, we believe in balance. We believe in balancing our client roster. We believe that operating a women-owned business and employing other women is a step toward balance and we believe in work/life balance. It may be cliched, but a critical part of leading a balanced life is self-care. So next time you want to treat yourself to a new nail polish or fun lip gloss, remember it starts with us.   

A Conversation with Molly Given of Metro Philadelphia by Ellie McGarvey

One of the biggest challenges a publicist can face is finding the right person to tell their client’s story. As outstanding as a pitch may be, it’s not doing anyone any good if it’s sent to the wrong contact. For that reason, we at FSPR are always eager to pick editors’ brains to see what news, trends, or events are catching their attention. Molly Given, Features Editor at Metro Philadelphia, met up with us to talk about seeing her name in print for the first time, her process when deciding which Philly events to cover, and what she looks for in a pitch.  


Did you always want to be a journalist? How did you get started in the field?

I did actually always want to be a journalist, since I was a kid I had journals filled with writing and stories. When I got to college I knew I wanted to study it, and when I got out of college, it’s not the easiest field to get a job in right away, so I just freelanced for a lot of different places. A lot of times you don’t really get paid for that, but you get a lot of experience. So then, after eventually building up my résumé, I landed a job at a website. I always wanted to work for a paper though, so I kept that in mind and then I got the job with Metro Philly. The first time I saw my name in print, it was kind of a dream come true. 


When it comes to Philly news and events, there’s always so much going on – how do you decide what you want to cover?

I always try to have a variety. Food is a big industry in Philly, so I’ll frequently cover that. There’s a good arts and culture scene, good museums, so I’ll always try to include that. And also…people want to drink. People want to go out! So really, I just try to pick and choose a wide variety and think about what I would be most interested in – if there’s a unique twist on an event, that’s always a plus as well.


What’s your favorite neighborhood in Philly?

That’s a good question! I love the Old City area, maybe because I’m a big history buff, especially within that time period. It’s so fun to go down there and feel like you’re stepping back in time, seeing all the history. It’s gorgeous there too, it’s by the water, and there’s a lot to offer in that neighborhood. One of my favorite spots for sure.


What advice would you give to publicists who want to pitch you?

I would say, have a press release ready, and quotes are always great - from someone who is involved in the event or had a part in making the event happen. Pictures are always great as well. And just put it in your own words, like how you would tell it to a friend. Whatever you find interesting about the event, someone else probably will as well. 


Skills for Your First Job in PR by Ellie McGarvey

I was disappointed to not have a job upon graduation. After a few months of frustrating job interviews, advertised as PR – but really sales jobs – I was aggravated and felt like I would have to settle for a job I didn’t want. When I finally interviewed at Food Shelter I thought, “Whoa, this is an ACTUAL PR job and I want it. I hope they hire me!” Now, six months after joining FSPR as an Assistant Account Executive, I have learned some crucial lessons on what skills are essential to succeeding in PR. 



First, and most importantly, be excited about what you do. Of course, learning the ins and outs of a new job comes with many frustrating moments. It may take longer to master some skills than others. Passion helps to push yourself forward and brings you to a better place in your work, both in quality and upward mobility for future opportunities. It is that moment of pure pride when you land a media placement or complete a difficult project. Without passion, it will be difficult to excel in any job, so find something you truly enjoy. 


Attention to Detail 

A critical lesson I’ve learned is that PR requires a great deal of attention to detail. Always double-check your spelling and grammar, no matter what sized task you are working on. Small typos can make a big difference; carve out time for multiple proofreading sessions. When you feel like you are in a time crunch, check in with supervisors to let them know. They likely will prefer that you take the time to check for mistakes rather than send in work that is sloppily done.


Time Management 

Juggling projects and clients is the reality in PR. Prioritization is fundamental, and with that comes the need for time management skills. I often work off of two to-do lists – one handwritten and the other online - that way I have visuals at all times of what needs to be done and when. Time management also means limiting procrastination. If you are wasting time, it usually means you do not know how to or are afraid to tackle the next big task – so ask some questions and get moving. Budgeting time to fit in last-minute tasks is helpful in being successful with all assignments.  



It is important to think of new, creative ways to capture an audience – finding ways to think outside the box while also keeping up with industry trends. Speaking up and sharing ideas is all a part of the creative process. When you can bounce ideas back and forth with a co-worker, it is easier to develop a successful idea rather than struggling to come up with something by yourself.  Collaboration and teamwork help influence creativity and expand a simple idea into an effective one. 


The Fastest Four Minutes of Your Life: Tips for Broadcast Appearances by Mackenzie Maloney

So you’re gonna be on the big screen! Securing that first broadcast appearance is always exciting, but it’s easy to get overwhelmed as you get closer to the big day. Whether you have a professional PR agency, are working with a freelancer or secured the segment yourself, it’s important to take time to prepare for the unexpected. If you go in feeling confident and ready for anything, you have a much better chance of succeeding than Mr. Wacky.

Fox 29’s Mike Jerrick catches up with Rich Friedrich, Executive Chef of P.J. Whelihan’s to discuss the best tailgate food found at P.J. Whelihan’s

Fox 29’s Mike Jerrick catches up with Rich Friedrich, Executive Chef of P.J. Whelihan’s to discuss the best tailgate food found at P.J. Whelihan’s

Below are a few basic tips.

Before You Arrive

Make sure you know if the segment is in-studio or outside. Location may determine your entire approach, formal vs fun and casual. Either way, dress appropriately to make sure your attire is true to your brand. Stay away from checks or busy patterns, which show up oddly on camera. Brewers and Chefs may opt for logoed apparel while restaurateurs or real estate developers choose a business casual look instead.

Find out who will be interviewing you and do a little research. PR firms typically provide background on recent segments as well as competitors that were featured but doing your own digging may provide an opportunity to discover a common interest or point of conversation to create an easy on-air rapport. Figure out if you have any shared contacts on social media. 


Know Why You Are There

Understand the goal of the segment. Are you promoting a new product, opening a new restaurant, is this a trend piece or national holiday (real or made up food day)?  Are you there not only as a representative of your company but the industry as a whole? If so, you may need to update yourself on critical issues such as tax credits or upcoming legislation that stand to affect your industry.


Message Exercise

Now that you have your goal, focus on the message. At Food Shelter, we provide individualized worksheets that prep clients for appearances, working through messaging, identifying any potential stumbling, and highlighting any props or materials necessary to make the segment come alive.


As the founder or spokesperson, you know your brand better than anyone, but the challenge can be expressing benefits or ideas in a precise, easily digestible manner. It takes practice (often known in the biz as “message exercises”) to develop a few quick lines that come naturally to describe your company, brand or big idea. You can say something a thousand times in your head but until you hear it out loud, you may not identify critical mistakes, such as forgetting to include the name of your brewery or company.

To reinforce the point above, at Food Shelter, we tell our clients to say their company name at every opportunity.  See what we did there? 

Lastly, don’t forget to smile and check your posture.

And Just Like That - It’s Over

Segments are exciting and fast paced. Unfortunately, basic manners can get lost along the way. This opportunity should be treated like any other high-level meeting. Be gracious no matter what. Don’t forget to thank the host. If you completed a food or product segment, make sure you offer something to the crew. It’s always a good idea to leave product in the green room, either for interns and newsroom staff or even the next set of guests.