Dear Friends,

As we anticipate the holiday season against the backdrop of COVID-19, we see individuals and families continuing to struggle to stay healthy, keep a roof over their head, and put food on their table. We know that this holiday season will be different than any we’ve previously experienced due to social distancing and health concerns.  All of this creates many challenges as we work to meet the growing needs of those experiencing food insecurity with keeping those providing services healthy and safe.

At the Coalition, we are gearing up for this year's Night to Fight Hunger Virtual Gala. To address safety concerns, this year we are inviting you to join us from the comfort of your own home by tuning into Facebook or YouTube Live on November 12 at 6:30 pmIt’s free to all, and there will be a silent auction that runs from October 30 - November 8! Register to attend by clicking here. If you can’t attend, make a donation to support our work by clicking here. Your support is more important now than ever!

 

Food Pantry and Soup Kitchens

Thought for the Holiday Season for Hunger Fighters

Planning for the Thanksgiving and Christmas season is upon us and COVID-19 still surrounds us, but let’s think safety first. The holiday spirit always makes us feel good and we want to do special things for the communities we serve throughout the year. This season more than ever let’s give the gift of good health and safety. Please consider making all hot holiday meals to go. Don’t take a chance on spreading COVID-19 through the people that we serve. 

Stay safe! Derek Felton, Community Organizer

Questions? Contact Derek at dfelton@hungercoalition.org.

 

Advocacy

Yet another week has passed while the U.S. Senate ignores the need for COVID relief to help ordinary Americans simply make ends meet. Our clients provide us daily proof that their struggles are real, and national data continues to confirm their plight. In its special COVID Hardship Watch, CBPP has analyzed the most recent Census Pulse data (collected Sept. 2-28), as well as information on unemployment data from the Census Current Population Survey and the Department of Labor, which show that tens of millions of people are out of work and that their households did not get enough to eat, are behind on rent payments, and simply cannot cover usual household expenses. Just one particularly devastating illustration:

  • Nearly 78 million adults — about 1 in 3 — are struggling to pay usual household expenses such as food, rent or mortgage, car payments, medical expenses, or student loans. Challenges are even greater for people of color.
  • Data for Pennsylvania shows that 2.56 million adults – 27% - are struggling to pay usual household expenses (see table 4 in the report).

In addition, two recent studies reveal devastating news of millions of people across the country slipping into poverty. The CARES Act’s stimulus checks and enhanced unemployment benefits provided tremendous help - actually lifting many families out of poverty. But, now the protection they provided is gone. 

Both studies highlight that Increases in poverty rates have been particularly acute for Black and Hispanic people, as well as for children.

Last week, we let you know that the deadline to file for Economic Impact Payments (EIPs or stimulus checks) has been extended to November 21. To help you spread the word, we have an updated flyer that you can share with others. While the extension is very welcome news, November 21st will be here before we know it! In the next few weeks, it is important that we spread the word to everyone who may have missed out on an EIP in the spring, so that they can file for these dollars before the deadline. Remember, EIPs are checks of $1,200 for an individual, $2,400 for married couples, and more for families with children. These dollars are crucial for struggling families. Please help your community by spreading the word before it is too late!

DHS has shared that it will again issue SNAP “Emergency Allotments” (EAs) for October as it has done in previous months. 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 October. (But keep in mind, as a result of CLS's successful legal challenge to USDA’s interpretation of Emergency Allotments in the “Families First Act” (H.R. 6201), DHS may soon be able to issue EAs to all Pennsylvania SNAP households!).

 

Remember to Vote!

The voter registration DEADLINE is MONDAY, October 19th! Register to vote HERE. This Election season we have partnered with the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania to make sure our clients are educated about their rights as voters so they can safely cast their ballot!

View a map and listing of Philadelphia early voting and drop-box locations here.

Visit our Facebook and Instagram profiles to watch informational voter rights videos to learn more!

CALL 866-OURVOTE (866-687-8683) or email Votes@ACLUPA.org for ANY voter related questions and support!

 

Outreach

Did you know when you receive SNAP (food stamps) you are also eligible to participate in additional discount programs? Our Outreach team wants you to make the most of your benefits by getting discounts to programs like Amazon Prime and Art Reach, which allows you and up to 3 friends to visit participating museums, gardens, and historic sites. To find out more, see our Benefits of Benefits flyer today! 

 

SNAP Hotline

We continue to help individuals and households navigate the SNAP application process. Our SNAP Hotline operates Monday – Friday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm at 215-430-0556.  As our SNAP Hotline calls are increasing, many callers are sharing similar concerns and asking the same questions.

1. Am I eligible to receive pandemic SNAP (P-EBT)? 

Review the recently updated (October 1st) SNAP income guidelines and EA fact sheet to see if you are eligible.

2. Where are food distribution centers?

Here is the City of Philadelphia list of COVID-19 food distribution sites locations across Philadelphia for: student, senior and outdoor food pick up sites.  

3. Where can I call to report the CAO (county assistance office)?

If you feel you have been discriminated against review: how to file a client complaint and the complaint procedures. To request the Statement of Complaint form by mail call the Professional Compliance Office Hotline at 1-800-822-2113 (if you are calling from within Pennsylvania).

While our hotline traditionally provides support for hunger relief, due to the economic impact of the pandemic callers are requesting information on housing assistance. 

 

WHAT CAN YOU DO?  

We strive to build a community where all people have the food they need to lead healthy lives. Hunger is preventable. Thank you for your continued support of our work! 

 

The Coalition Against Hunger Team

Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger
123 Chestnut Street Suite 401 | Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19106
215-430-0555 | info@hungercoalition.org

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