Dear Friends,

We write today to share our grief for the loss of the eight people murdered Tuesday in Atlanta, who were targeted for violence based on their perceived race and gender. Six of those killed were of Asian descent and seven were women. The loss of life is compounded by what underlies it — hate, anti-Asian discrimination, misogyny, and white supremacy. We condemn this violence and the hate that motivates it. Anti-Asian hate crimes have increased by 149 percent in 2020, according to the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism’s survey of police departments in 16 major U.S. cities. Throughout the pandemic we have also seen an increase in violence against women worldwide.

Thanks to Councilwoman Bass for her work with  the Philadelphia City Council to recognize  March as Nutrition Month. Unfortunately, we all know that accessing nutritious food was a challenge for many residents pre-COVID, and the current crisis has only served to exacerbate hunger - particularly for communities of color and families with children. We need to continue to work together, supported by some of the city's American Recovery Plan dollars, to increase access to nutritious food, not just during the pandemic, but in the years to come as families work to get back on their feet.  

We are looking forward to the upcoming 25th Annual Race Against Hunger 5K Run/Walk! The virtual Race starts April 16th and runs through April 26th and is the perfect way to enjoy the warm weather while supporting our movement to end hunger. 

Be sure to Sign Up HERE to run or walk no later than Sunday, March 21st to receive your free t-shirt prior to the Race. 
Proceeds support the work of the Coalition as well as food pantries, soup kitchens and hunger-fighting organizations in the region. Please visit: www.phillyhungerrace.com for details on ways that you can support this year’s Race Against Hunger.

SNAP Hotline Story

The delays in the U.S. postal system from the impact of COVID-19 are still heavily impacting callers to the SNAP Hotline, luckily the Coalition Hotline is always prepared to provide support. 

A caller who applied for and was approved for SNAP benefits in November 2020 called the Hotline because she still hadn’t received her EBT card in the mail. When the card finally arrived in late February she learned that the card had a zero balance with no benefits available to feed herself or three children. Our Hotline Case Manager reached out to an administrator at the County Assistance Office, who found that there was a system error which prevented the client’s benefits from processing. The administrator was able to correct the error and the client was able to receive more than $2,000 in retroactive benefits for herself and her family! 

Our SNAP Hotline continues to operate Monday – Thursday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm and on Friday from 9:00 am to 4 pm at 215-430-0556.  

Here is the City of Philadelphia list of COVID-19 food distribution sites locations across Philadelphia for student, senior and outdoor food pick up sites.  

Here is a listing (phone numbers and addresses) of all Philadelphia County Assistance offices. Note, however, when calling it is often quicker to contact the Customer Service Center at 215-560-7226 (Philadelphia) or 877-395-8930 (statewide).

 

Policy and Advocacy

We are happy to share that Pennsylvania’s Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) plan has been approved by USDA. While some changes to the plan were required, DHS and PDE can now work with schools and families to take necessary steps so that much needed benefits to make up for school meals that were missed due to remote learning can be issued. Two important changes included in the final plan are:

  • We anticipate that P-EBT benefits for K-12 students will begin to go out in May (not late April)
  • Instead of two payments, P-EBT payments will be divided into three payments:
    • The first payment will cover Sept. through Nov. 2020
    • A second payment that will cover Dec. 2020 through Feb. 2021 will be sent in June
    • A third payment that will cover March through May 2021 will be sent in July.

We have been working with our partners out in Pittsburgh - Just Harvest - to break down the details of the plan and create materials that will help both families and schools get the word out about P-EBT details.

Please see this P-EBT flyer for all the basics. We hope that you’ll share it widely!

In addition, if you’re looking for comprehensive details about P-EBT, please see our FAQs here. We will be working to get materials translated, as well as to further tailor simplified information and create helpful social media posts. 

Please keep an eye out for additional materials in coming weeks. In addition, we will keep you posted on the progress of PA’s plan for P-EBT benefits for young children (those not yet in kindergarten).

 

Once again, Nutritional Development Services (NDS) will be hosting a FREE Farmers to Family Food Distribution Day this weekend, this time in Philadelphia. Details: Saturday, March 20th, 2021, 10 AM – Noon, Archdiocesan Pastoral Center, 222 North 17th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103 (please enter through the parking lot on North 17th Street).

They will have food boxes including a variety of meats, dairy, and produce, as well as student meal kits including 7 breakfasts & 7 lunches for virtual students who are not receiving school meals. All families are welcome, no ID required. Please consider sharing this information using the Facebook event page or this flyer (in English and Spanish).

 

Food Pantry and Soup Kitchens

Last week’s virtual Victory in Partnership (VIP) meeting for area food pantry and soup kitchen leaders featured speaker Dr. Helena Kwakwa, MD, MPH, an infectious disease specialist from the Philadelphia Department of Public Health. Click here to view her presentation with the latest information about COVID-19 safety and the vaccine.  We were so grateful for the extra time she spent following the presentation thoughtfully and thoroughly answering all of our questions. If you still have questions about COVID and the vaccine, we strongly encourage you to watch this short video and share it with your friends and family. 

WHAT CAN YOU DO?  

We strive to build a community where all people have the food they need to lead healthy lives. Hunger is preventable. Thank you for your continued support of our work! 

The Coalition Against Hunger Team

Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger
123 Chestnut Street Suite 401 | Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19106
215-430-0555 | info@hungercoalition.org

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