We know that food has the power to save lives and increase health, especially during this time of COVID-19. But we are reminded that the delivery of food and food resources to those who need it can also provide a glimmer of hope.
This week we’ve looked for ways the power of food has also provided hope . . .
Over the past weeks our lead list of those looking for SNAP Benefits has grown at times to over 400 individuals. This week our SNAP Hotline Team was able to reduce our lead list to just under 200.Thank you to Alejandra Dominguez, Claire Richardson, and Glory Morales for your hard work, dedication, and caring approach to ensuring that people have access to the food resources they need! We continue to operate our SNAP Hotline at 215-430-0556, Monday – Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
We are heading into the last days of fundraising for the virtual Race Against Hunger for our local Food Pantry and Soup Kitchen partners. These dollars provide essential funding for participating food pantry and soup kitchen programs. Fundraising ends May 31.
We also wanted to share some good news from The Food Trust. The Food Trust’s Food Bucks program helps families put more fresh fruits and vegetables on the table. During the month of May, they are doubling customers’ purchasing power at their farmers market; shoppers will earn $2 in Food Bucks for every $2 spent using their SNAP benefits.
On the Advocacy and Policy front, there is both an update and a new opportunity.
DHS announced earlier this week that Pennsylvania received approval from Food and Nutrition Service to join the pilot program that lets SNAP recipients purchase groceries online through participating retailers. This is an important first step to help increase the power of SNAP. Other steps are still needed. One drawback is that the pilot program currently includes just three approved retailers: Amazon, Walmart, and ShopRite. However, USDA’s press release reports that it is working to simplify the process for retailers and approving new retailers to accept SNAP online payments.
Another obstacle to overcome is that SNAP benefits cannot pay for delivery fees and other associated charges. Our partners at Just Harvest are gathering support for legislation that would create a fund to reimburse retailers for the cost of delivery to SNAP households. Take action here!
CONNECTING PEOPLE TO FOOD STORY When people call our SNAP hotline looking to apply for SNAP benefits, they are often also looking for immediate food resources. During the pandemic, more and more people are unable to leave their homes to pick-up food due to their age, health conditions, and lack of transportation. As a way to offer additional resources and hope to clients who are unable to get to food pantries or Philadelphia City Food Box sites, we are thankful to have developed a partnership with Food Connect. So now, when people call looking for food delivery services, we can refer them to Food Connect’s Meal Initiative. Through this partnership, we provide healthy meals safely delivered to people’s doorstep and support the work of local restaurants and caterers.
A recent SNAP Hotline Senior callers says, “Thank you for referring me to Food Connect. I really appreciated receiving the good prepared food delivered to my step without having to leave the safety of my home to go find food for myself at this time.”