As more of our family, friends, and neighbors are losing their jobs, people who have never faced food insecurity are being forced to contemplate how to make ends meet. Some must immediately look for food resources, as they apply for assistance through SNAP, unemployment, and more. Others may have savings to keep them afloat . . . but for how long?
And for those who were already struggling to put food on their table, increased demand has added to the pressure of providing meals for themselves and their families each day. We hear their anxiety as we talk with them on the SNAP Hotline and as we work to support our local food pantry and soup kitchen partners.
As a result our team is working at many levels to respond. . .
Alejandra Dominguez, SNAP Case Manager, and Claire Richardson, SNAP Hotline Counselor, continue to operate our SNAP Hotline at 215-430-0556, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. To provide callers with multiple options to access food resources, we’ve created a screening form on our website to give callers an alternative way to initiate the application process with us.
Amanda Fury, Office Manager and Katie Milholin, Community Educator, are using a triage method to direct calls based on caller's food needs. We are also grateful to work with local partners and happy to direct Philadelphia residents to a new BenePhilly Hotline Number at 833-373-5868 for additional assistance.
On the Advocacy front, Kathy Fisher, Policy Director, continues to track nutrition program developments and connect with local and state allies – including staff from the city of Philadelphia and state administrations who have been diligently working to serve those in need.
One welcome development: later this month hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvania households will receive an emergency SNAP allotment on their Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards. This extra SNAP, authorized by the Families First Act (H.R. 6201), will “top off” the March and April SNAP benefits for households that do not receive the maximum SNAP allotment, and bring them up to that maximum amount for their household size. See this fact sheet for details. This is much needed help for those families, but leaves other very needy households without additional help. That’s why we are still pushing for Congress to include a 15% SNAP benefits increase for ALL households in the next response bill.
Derek Felton, Community Organizer and Tanya Sen, Community Nutrition Program Manager are organizing Wellness Calls with our Food Pantry and Soup Kitchen Partners to provide safety tips, share creative solutions to delivering food, and support each other through this stressful time. We remain committed to creating access to additional food through the Food Rescue Program and supporting virtual Race Against Hunger fundraising efforts of local Food Pantries and Soup Kitchens. We continue to work with community partners and the City of Philadelphia to keep those looking for food up to date on where to find local food resources.
A SNAP HOTLINE STORY Claire, one of our SNAP Hotline Counselors, received a call from a family of nine. As a family, this was their first time applying for SNAP benefits. The father didn’t want them to apply. The family included two parents, their six children and one grandchild. The children over age 18 had all moved back home because they had either lost their jobs or their colleges had closed. The only income for the household since early March was SSI for one child. As you can imagine the anxiety level for everyone in the household was high. Claire worked with the mother to submit their SNAP application, and they will soon receive their first SNAP benefits. This is the SNAP Hotline in Action!
Join us for theVirtual 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!
Spread the news about the Virtual Race Against Hunger with your family, friends, and neighbors.
Set-up a Virtual Race Against Hunger fundraising page to benefit the Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger. Contact Michele Lofton at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for all you do to support your family, friends, and neighbors who are food insecure. Wishing you each health, safety, and hope as we navigate these challenging times.
-The Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger