We continue to work to meet the changing needs of delivering food resources amidst the challenges of COVID-19 to those experiencing food insecurity.
Our team is . . .
Working closely with our Food Pantry and Soup Kitchen Partners to support their efforts to find safe ways to deliver food to those who need it, as well as help the media report on the challenges they are facing. Participation in our Food Rescue Program has increased as we’ve scheduled our VIP (Victory in Partnership) members to pick up extra food in a safe environment, using safety protocols that we’ve developed. We are also working with the City of Philadelphia and other hunger organizations to maintain updated information regarding food pick-up locations.
Our SNAP Hotline is experiencing a higher call volume as we are beginning to hear from those who are recently unemployed due to the coronavirus. Calls are typically taking longer because people are scared and need someone to talk to. A piece of good news is that DHS received USDA approval to a) allow current SNAP participants to bypass paperwork for 6 months, and b) grant flexibility on some verification requirements. This will allow our SNAP counselors, Alejandra and Claire, as well as County Assistance office staff to focus on processing the flood of new applications.
Our Policy and Advocacy Efforts have focused on sharing up to date information we have gathered from a wide range of partners on available resources and nutrition program changes. We are also staying informed of the status of administrative waivers that will help programs like SNAP and school meals be more responsive, as well as the challenges of quickly implementing those changes. We are using this information to provide information to federal and state elected officials and their staff, as well as to urge their support of program simplifications and additional resources for those in need.
A SNAP Hotline STORY We received a call on our SNAP Hotline from a woman in her 80’s who was down to her last jar of applesauce. She and her husband had been receiving SNAP through his EBT card. She couldn’t access the dollars because he recently died. Alejandra, our Case Manager, was able to help her receive a new card and access the benefits available to her. However, she wasn’t going to receive the card for 5 to 7 days and she had no food in her house. Alejandra reached out to one of our pantry partners and they were able to deliver food to her the very same day. Thanks so much our many community partners! This is our SNAP Hotline in ACTION!
A note on the Senate COVID-19 package the U.S. House is expected to vote on today:
We believe the bill is worthy of passage because of extremely important provisions that will help lessen the economic harm caused by the current crisis. We also urge Congress to begin work on another bill to address critical missing pieces, including additional food assistance for struggling families.
Join us for the Virtual Race Against Hunger - Register to run or walk between April 17 and April 27 whenever and wherever it works for you or make a donation at https://www.phillyhungerrace.com/. These dollars are more important than ever!
Share the information about the Virtual Race Against Hunger with your family, friends, and neighbors.
Thank you for all you do to continue to support those who are food insecure in our community. Wishing you health, safety, and hope as we navigate these challenging times.
-The Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger