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.
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!