As the need for food resources continues to increase, we are working diligently with partners across the region to address immediate needs as well as plan for the months to come. This is not a sprint, but rather a marathon.
Why the Racing metaphors? Today we kick-off our Virtual Race Against Hunger. This year due to COVID-19, we were forced to shift to a virtual Race to ensure the safety of our volunteers, team members, and participants. It’s not too late to register to safely run or walk whenever and wherever it works for you beginning today through Monday, April 27. Registration is open until midnight on Sunday, April 26. Click the picture below to watch our Executive Director, Melody Keim, welcome you to Race week!
By participating in the Race Against Hunger, you support our work . . .
As you would expect, our team is also working to support the virtual Race Against Hunger fundraising efforts of our local Food Pantries and Soup Kitchens to ensure that they have the dollars they need to support their important work today and in the days to come. We also continue to provide other crucial support, including last week’s first Wellness Call 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 continue to re-shape our Food Rescue Program to ensure the safety and well-being of our team and pantry/soup kitchen partners.
On the Advocacy front, this week we have taken the information we’ve tracked on SNAP policy developments and simplified them for those receiving SNAP and the thousands in our region who now find they need to apply. In addition to maintaining connections with local, state, and national allies, we provided background to the media on shortcomings of USDA’s interpretation of the SNAP supplement and the lack of online shopping for SNAP recipients. And, with Governor Wolf’s announcement late last week that PA schools will be closed for the remainder of the year, we have turned our attention to Pennsylvania’s plan for pandemic electronic benefit transfer (P-EBT), a new program to give low-income families access to nutritious food while schools are closed that was included in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. We will share details as that plan comes together.
Our SNAP Hotline at 215-430-0556 continues to operate Monday – Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Our SNAP Hotline team is working tirelessly to ease the anxiety of clients and help them connect to the food resources they need. Due to a high call volume, we’re working to increase our capacity by working with local partners, applying a triage approach, and directing clients to our on-line form.
WELLNESS CALL STORY
Derek Felton, Community Organizer, facilitated the first Wellness Call last week with some our food pantry and soup kitchen partners. Many of the volunteer leaders are in their 70s, 80s and even 90s; and therefore, in the most vulnerable group to contract COVID-19. They have been forced to make impossible decisions between their health, the health of their volunteers and clients, and their capacity to deliver food to those who need it. The Wellness Call provided a way for them to know that they are not alone, talk about their anxieties, and share things they are doing to keep safe. One of the pantry partners shared that she baked a cake for the first time in ‘100 years.’ This is our VIP Program (Victory in Partnership) in action!
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
Support our Virtual Race Against Hunger by:
Registering to run or walk between April 17 and April 27 whenever and wherever it works for you or make a donation at www.phillyhungerrace.com;
Spreading the news about the Virtual Race Against Hunger with your family, friends, and neighbors; and/or
Setting-up a Virtual Race Against Hunger fundraising page to benefit the Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger. Contact Michele Lofton at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The dollars we raise through this year’s Virtual Race Against Hunger are more important than ever!
Thank you for all you do to support your family, friends, and neighbors who are food insecure. Wishing you health, safety, and hope as we navigate these challenging times.
-The Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger