Normally in July summer meal programs across the city open their doors. This summer offers additional challenges due to COVID-19. However, the need to ensure that kids across our region receive the food they need remains the same. In fact, these sites are responding to even greater need as the number of kids experiencing food insecurity has increased.
Given the unique challenges of feeding children and conducting outreach during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is imperative that organizations, agencies, individuals, and everyone who cares about kids getting enough to eat work together to promote the summer meals program. Without strong promotion throughout the region, children will miss out on this critical resource during an already vulnerable time. To assist our partners and supporters promote the program, we’ve created a summer meals 2020 toolkit. This toolkit includes everything that you will need to promote the summer meals program including flyers, social media graphics, and sample social media posts. Please use this toolkit to talk about the summer meals program in your networks and share the toolkit with as many people as possible! If you need additional support or resources to promote the summer meals program, please reach out to our Community Educator, Katie Milholin, at email@example.com.
This week we worked in the following ways to address food insecurity across the region . . .
On the Advocacy and Policy front, mixed news once again. On the plus side:
Wednesday evening (7/1), Senator Casey spoke on the Senate floor to call on his colleagues to help families and the economy by increasing food assistance benefits – most importantly by including a 15% boost to SNAP benefits in the next coronavirus response bill. We thank Senator Casey for his commitment to SNAP and fighting to ensure that this much needed benefits increase is not left out of what may be the final response bill Congress will pass this summer. See: https://twitter.com/SenateAgDems/status/1278453835414069250
DHS received approval from FNS to issue SNAP “Emergency Allotments” (EAs) for July. Families that do not receive the maximum SNAP benefit will receive supplemental funds in the second half of the month. You can see the schedule on our EA fact sheet for July.
On the negative side:
USDA denied two very important SNAP waiver extensions that Pennsylvania had requested. Each was to continue much needed flexibility in administering SNAP through the end of July, since the challenges posed by COVID-19 remain. One was to continue to waive the interview for SNAP benefits; the other to extend certification periods. These waiver denials will significantly increase the state's administrative burden at a time when many CAOs and processing centers remain closed to the public. They will also increase administrative burden for clients at a time when COVID-19 infection rates seem to be on the rise in many areas. DHS has asked FNS to reconsider its decision. We will keep you posted!
We continue to operate our SNAP Hotline at 215-430-0556, Monday–Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For the month of June we completed 175 pre-screenings and 160 SNAP applications. We also completed case management for 30 individuals/families.
Through the work of our Food Rescue Program with our Food Pantry and Soup Kitchen partners, we connected 635 households with 15,600 pounds of food for the month of June. And don’t forget #BLACKOUTDAY2020, a nationwide boycott on July 7. For more information visit https://www.blackoutday.org/
BLACK LIVES MATTER UPDATE In our initial Black Lives Matter statement, we committed to and are doing the following; 1. Listening to the voices of our VIP (Victory in Partnership) pantry partners and incorporating their feedback into our work. We are working with them to promote #BLACKOUTDAY2020. 2. Combatting voter discrimination in preparation of the upcoming November election by providing education and training to the Black communities we serve. Our planning team is hard at work reaching out to partners and planning next steps. 3. Holding monthly meetings as a team to continue our conversation around racism and identify long term goals. We have a monthly time scheduled to specifically talk about racism within our organization, next steps, and build our understanding.