Our work at the Coalition wouldn’t be possible without the work of our many volunteers. When our office is open, SNAP Hotline volunteers are the first voice people hear when they call for assistance with their SNAP application. We’re eager to have them back, answering the hotline with kindness and compassion for our clients as soon as it is safe to do so.
Our volunteer Board of Directors works diligently to guide our work, generates revenue to keep us financially strong, and serves as our ambassadors in the community. We’d like to say a very BIG thank you to our Board members who are stepping down from the Board at of the end of June. Thank you to Yvette Palmer, Robin Rifkin, Elizabeth Rubin, Bob Groves, and Greg Kelleher for your dedication to ending food insecurity. We’d also like to welcome Jeanette Pringle, Nancy Kohn, Reese Arrowsmith, and Rev. Patricia Neale, who have joined the Board over the past few months. Thank you for joining us!
In addition, the vast majority of our VIP (Victory in Partnership) program members are dedicated volunteer food pantry and soup kitchen leaders, many of whom who have served for decades. Without their ongoing commitment to providing food to those who need it, many people in our community would go hungry. Thank you for all you do!
This week we worked in the following ways to address food insecurity across the region. . .
We continue to operate our SNAP Hotline at 215-430-0556, Monday – Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and are gearing up for an anticipated increase in SNAP applications in August when the extra $600 in unemployment dollars is set to expire. Our SNAP Hotline Case Manager and Counselors have been circling back with clients to ensure they received the food resources they need. Through case management, we helped people who were originally denied benefits receive SNAP. For example, we’ve helped numerous seniors returning home from a stay in a nursing home who were denied benefits because the system thought they were still in the nursing home. And we’ve also assisted returning citizens to access SNAP benefits when they were denied because the system thought they were still in jail.
On the Advocacy and Policy front there is good news on the subject of child nutrition as we enter summer.
Earlier this month, USDA approved several important nationwide waivers through August 31. These waivers provide important flexibilities in response to COVID-19 that will enable providers to operate, PDE to monitor, and - most importantly - children to access summer meals safely.
To help families find a meal location for their child(ren), our summer meals map is officially up and running! The mobile friendly map includes summer meal sites sponsored by all providers across the 5-county region and will be updated weekly as sites change throughout the summer. We will also be hosting our summer meals hotline at 1-855-252-MEAL. This summer, we are asking all callers to leave a message, and we be returning calls in the order we receive them. In response to COVID-19, USDA has approved waivers so that summer meals can be served “grab & go” style. Some sites are serving each day; others distribute multiple meals on each day using a more limited schedule. For more information, visit our map for site contact information and call the site directly. Please share our Summer Meals flyer to promote this important resource!
Through our work with Food Pantry and Soup Kitchens, we are partnering with our VIP partners to promote BLACKOUT DAY on Tuesday, July 7. This day of solidarity aims to mobilize the economic power of the Black community, including Africans, Indigenous Peoples, Asian-Americans, Latinx, and all people of color. Together this group annually has $3.9 trillion in economic spending power. That’s $10,684,931,506 a day. BLACKOUT Day is designed to withhold all spending of the Black community. For more information visit https://www.blackoutday.org/
SNAP HOTLINE STORY Recently we received a call from a woman who had applied for unemployment on March 15. She is owed $10,200 in unemployment, but hasn’t received it yet. She recently lost her mother and her brother. She is staying with her sister and caring for her aunt, so things are extremely financially challenging. We helped her navigate the SNAP application process, so that she has dollars in her pocket to purchase the food they need. She was grateful and we are grateful that we were able to help her.