Dear Friends,

A new U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) study found that nearly 9 out of 10 SNAP participants face barriers providing their household with a healthy diet throughout the month. The report documents that the most common barrier that SNAP participants face when trying to achieve a healthy diet is affordable foods. Certainly not a surprise, but an important reminder as we advocate to increase access to nutritious foods and improve SNAP benefit adequacy. Our advocacy is particularly important over the next couple of months as some emergency measures due to COVID-19 are scheduled to end, despite the huge number of people experiencing food insecurity.

SNAP Hotline

While offices remain closed to the public at this time, they are scheduled to reopen on Monday, July 12. We will be meeting with Philadelphia CAO leadership on July 9 and will try to get as many details about reopening protocols and procedures as we can. We will share those updates in our Community Update on July 16. In the meantime, you can still drop off paperwork in "drop boxes" outside, call the county assistance offices, or contact the Customer Service Center at 215-560-7226 (Philadelphia) or 877-395-8930 (statewide).

Food Pantry & Soup Kitchens

This summer we will be completing a food pantry survey so that we can update our map with accurate information about existing food programs throughout the five-county region. Pantry coordinators can expect a call from our wonderful Fox Fellow, Dangela, who will be contacting food program coordinators all summer to help us get the most up to date information. If you are a food pantry coordinator and would like to help us out with this project, we also have a google form that you can fill out on your own. Filling out the form may take up to 15 minutes, and the information will be used to connect members of the community more accurately and efficiently with your food program. Thank you for helping us out with this project and for all that you do to support the community!

Policy and Advocacy

Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) Update

We don’t like being the bearer of bad news, but also want to keep you informed of the latest information we have about P-EBT (the funds many families are still awaiting to help cover the cost of food for their children who missed out on free and reduced-price meals due to school and childcare closures). The company that creates the P-EBT cards informed DHS that it hit a delay and is still in the process of mailing cards to PA families. P-EBT cards are now estimated to arrive to families by July 9. We know it is extremely difficult to have to wait for this support. Until then, we hope that summer meals sites can help families get the food they need for their children. (Note - please see our 2021 Summer Meals Toolkit in the “Outreach” section of this email for more information).

New Materials about Improving WIC (the “Special Supplemental Program for Women, Infants and Children”)

As we have noted in previous emails, the Coalition has been working with Just Harvest to gather information from current and former WIC participants so that we represent their interests as we advocate for program improvements. As a result of that work, we have released two resources:

Stopping WIC’s Downward Spiral: Listening to family feedback is crucial to improving Pennsylvania WIC

Learning from the COVID Crisis: Changes and challenges resulting from the pandemic reveal a path forward for PA WIC

These fact sheets complement a recently released WIC brief our client surveys and interviews helped to inform. Our WIC advocacy is part of Thriving PA, a non-partisan statewide campaign that seeks to improve the quality of and increase equitable access to a coordinated system of health supports, including access to comprehensive perinatal health services, children’s health insurance, nutrition supports and lead screening and abatement.

Lastly, and most importantly for families with young children, we want to share this WIC toolkit that includes graphics, flyers, and sample social media posts to help spread the word about enhanced WIC produce benefits that are available this summer. As a result of the American Rescue Plan, WIC participants will get $35 per person per month for fruits and vegetables from now through September. It is not too late for families to enroll in WIC. They can fill out a pre-application for WIC at: https://www.pawic.com/OnlineApplication.aspx and will then be contacted by their local agency to complete the process.

Summer Meals

As we shared in our last email, the Summer Meals Program has begun! Kids and teens 18 and under can once again access free meals at many sites throughout the five-county region with no ID, registration, or proof of income required. While the Summer Meals Program provides meals to kids, strong promotion of the program by organizations and community members is needed to ensure that kids know about and connect to this resource. To help with this, we are happy to share our 2021 Summer Meals Toolkit, available in both English and Spanish. In the toolkit, you can find everything that you will need to promote the Summer Meals Program including flyers, social media graphics, and sample social media posts. Please note that the toolkit and the resources it promotes are applicable to Philadelphia, Chester, Montgomery, Bucks, and Delaware counties. We encourage you to share this resource widely!

For anyone in the city of Philadelphia, the Office of Children and Families put together this social media toolkit to promote summer meals. The toolkit contains social media posts and graphics that can be used to promote city summer feeding programs in 13 languages. 

Also please note that many Philadelphia Parks & Recreation Centers will be opening next week for summer food service. Find a site near you at www.phillysummermeals.org. We will not be updating the map on Monday due to the holiday, but you can check back on Tuesday for the most recent update!

The 25th Race Against Hunger Results

On behalf of thousands of children and families in the Philadelphia region that we serve, the Coalition Team would like to express our gratitude to everyone that helped to make the 25th Annual Race Against Hunger a success!

• To more than 300 HungerFighters that registered to run or walk virtually. 

• To 31 extremely committed pantry and soup kitchen teams that tirelessly took on the challenge of raising money for their hunger-relief programs — all while social distancing!

• To 7 very generous sponsors who helped us to underwrite the cost of hosting this event.

• To 3 teams and 18 fundraisers that helped to bring in 273 donations to the Coalition’s team page.

We offer a HUGE thank you! Your collective efforts helped to raise close to $90,000 that will help to impact the lives of so many people in our community that struggle every day to put food on their tables!

 WHAT CAN YOU DO?  

Sign up to receive our up-to-date Advocacy Alerts, Make a Donation or Become a Monthly Donor.

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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