It’s September, which brings some important things for the Coalition and our community:
First, September is Hunger Action Month! If you missed it earlier this week, make sure to check out our new "30 Ways in 30 Days" calendar that provides ideas for learning, teaching, or taking action on hunger for every day of the month.
As children head back to school, with virtual, in-person, and hybrid models, it’s truly a time of new beginnings. We are happy to welcome a new member of our staff. Antonio Boone, our new Communications Coordinator, will officially join the Coalition next week. Antonio brings experience in marketing and media relations and has used those skills to advance the mission of local agencies in the region including Philadelphia FIGHT and the Office of HIV Planning. We are truly excited to welcome Antonio to the team!
REMINDER: September 30th is the deadline to be counted in the 2020 Census! Responding online is SAFE, EASY, and IMPORTANT! You can find more details at the end of this update.
And, of course, our work to meet the increased need for food resources continues while the pandemic and its economic devastation persist. Here are this week’s updates:
On our Advocacy and Policy front, we have good news! On Aug. 31, the day on which critical child nutrition waivers were to expire, the pleas of advocates, educators, medical professionals, state administrators, and members of Congress from both sides of the aisle were finally heard. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced on Monday that it would extend the necessary program flexibilities until Dec. 31, 2020, so that schools and private nonprofit organizations can safely provide meals to the growing number of children at-risk of going hungry. Since many schools across the country remain closed for in-person learning, these waivers are incredibly important.
In Outreach and Education staff has been hard at work promoting our resources and message on virtual platforms. This week, we welcomed the incoming cohorts of the Philadelphia National Health Corps and the Notre Dame Mission Volunteers Americorps program to their year of service with an information session about food insecurity in the region and the resources we offer to help those in need. We are so grateful to our partners at NHC and NDMVA for having us discuss this important topic! Are you interested in an information session (via Zoom) for your program or organization? Contact our community educator, Katie, at firstname.lastname@example.org set it up!
Our ongoing work to support the crucial work of Food Pantries and Soup Kitchens continues, as we assist new food pantries that have reached out to us for technical support as they look into how to safely open their doors for the first time for their neighbors in need. Our training includes where to find food resources, how to set-up a pantry, and how to recruit volunteers. Contact the Coalition's Community Organizer, Derek Felton at email@example.com for more information.
Our SNAP Hotline team continues to answer questions and help households navigate the SNAP application process through our SNAP Hotline at 215-430-0556, Monday – Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. We continue to see a steady increase in calls to our SNAP Hotline as families face prolonged and deepening hardship. For those facing not only food, but housing insecurity, we are passing on this information:
Earlier this week, the City of Philadelphia launched a new Eviction Diversion Program, which will enable landlords and tenants to arrive at an agreement that works for both parties, without having to go to Court. This program is required for all landlords with tenants who have had difficulty paying rent due to a COVID-19 related hardship. For more information, see the City’s press release here.
As we enter Labor Day weekend, we have a short list for WHAT YOU CAN DO:
Save The Date! The Night to Fight Hunger Virtual Gala is Thursday, November 12, 2020. Join us and help us “drive hunger from our community!” Details coming soon.
Thank you for supporting our work to connect individuals and families to the food resources they need!
-The Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger
Additional details on Census 2020: What is the EASIEST way to participate in the 2020 Census? Simply click the green "Respond" box here. The 2020 Census questionnaire will take about 10 minutes to complete. It's safe, secure, and confidential.
Census takers have begun following up with all households that have not yet responded. Households can respond online or by phone through September 30. For those that respond by mail, the completed questionnaire must be postmarked by September 30 and received for processing at the Census’ Paper Data Capture facilities no later than October 7. Households are encouraged to respond online, by phone, or by mail as soon as possible—or please respond when a census taker comes to the door.
Following an August “re-plan” the Census is maintaining its hours of operation for telephone assistance. If you would like to complete the Census by phone, call 844-330-2020, or check here for the number associated with your preferred language. The telephone centers are available to take calls seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. Eastern Time. Census staffers offer to call anyone back who calls when it is not open. If there is an unexpected surge in call volume beyond the capacity of staff to handle, callers will have the option to schedule a call back, or leave a number for a call back in the next day or so.