The seasonal change has brought calm temperatures and more opportunities to engage with and in support of individuals and families experiencing food insecurity across the region. The Coalition staff, board and volunteers are working to engage with and inform people across our region about the rights and resources available to them. Not only to combat hunger; but also, to advocate for themselves at the polls! Last week, we held a Virtual Voter Rights Town Hall with our partners the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania, answering voting questions and connecting viewers to essential resources.
In addition to voter engagement, we are preparing for ourNight to Fight Hunger Gala! Join us from the safety and comfort of your own home this year on November 12, 2020 at 6:30 PM. The event is FREE FOR ALL and will stream on Facebook and YouTube Live! Register to Attend HERE and we will send you updates with early previews of exclusive items for our Silent Auction running from October 30th through November 8th!
Join us, as we work together to end hunger and make a huge difference in the lives of our neighbors, friends, and family members. We hope to virtually see you there!
Food Pantry and Soup Kitchens
Thoughts for the Holiday Season:The safest way to spend the holiday season for all
Looking to volunteer at a local feeding program during the holiday season? Please think about this – COVID-19 is still around, so let’s be safe. Due to safety precautions, many community food programs are asking for fewer or no volunteers this year. The best way to serve your community this holiday season may be through your food donations and monetary giving. If you are not already connected with a food pantry or soup kitchen in your neighborhood, we can help you to locate a program that could use your support. What a great way to celebrate the holiday spirit! For more information, please contact Derek Felton at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Policy and Advocacy
As we have been reporting for far too long, additional COVID relief from our nation’s capital remains stalled. This week the Senate Republican “skinny” bill, which provided far less than what struggling families and state and local governments need to get through this crisis,was rejected for a second time. Despite ongoing negotiations between Speaker Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Mnuchin, the lack of agreement means relief is unlikely to come until after the election. (Note for those keeping track, the last relief bill – the CARES Act passed way back on March 27!).
Clearly, we need more members of the U.S. Senate to understand the mounting evidence of growing need. Another CBPP analysis on more detailed Census data released earlier this week highlights the devastating impact of COVID-19 and the recession upon children:
An estimated 42% of children live in households that reported it was somewhat or very difficult to cover expenses (food, rent or mortgage, car payments, medical expenses, or student loans), compared to 27 percent of adults in households without children, and
Between 7 and 11 million children live in a household where children didn’t eat enough because the household couldn’t afford it.
At the state level DHS shared some of the SNAP waiver flexibilities it will adopt to help those in need connect to benefits:
All SNAP interviews are waived for both applications and recertifications until June 30th of 2021. Due to COVID precautions, no face to face interviews are allowed even at client request. This policy became effective Tuesday, October 12, 2020.
For those who are homeless, certification periods (basically, when SNAP paperwork is due) are being pushed out an additional six months up through June of 2021. This is due to homeless persons lack of access to a reliable mailing address (particularly since many use the address of their local County Assistance office, and those remain closed).
Lastly, we can end on two positive policy updates! One important update we overlooked last week:
On Oct. 9, Secretary Perdue announced – in Mt. Wolf, PA, no less – thatUSDA was extending child nutrition waivers to allow schools and other community programs to provide no cost meals to all children through June 30, 2021 (the previous extension was only until Dec. 31, 2020). This is very welcome news for families and schools as the pandemic continues to make opportunities for in-person learning uncertain.
The other good news has been a long time in development:
THANK YOU to all of you who helped us fight a devastating SNAP “Able-Bodied Adults without Dependents” (ABAWDs) rule change that was proposed by the Trump administration way back in Dec. 2018. While the final rule had been scheduled to go into effect this spring, a DC District court had issued a preliminary injunction until a lawsuit filed by 19 States (including PA), DC, and New York City could be heard. On Sunday, the Court issued its final decision striking down the rule that would have eliminated SNAP for 700,000 low-income jobless workers. We know many of you submitted comments opposing the rule –and your work paid off!
Over the past two weeks, our Community Educator, Katie, has been working with the 10th grade Quakerism class at William Penn Charter School to discuss food insecurity in Philadelphia, as part of a larger discussion on equity and social justice. We’ve been working with our partners at Penn Charter to present in a hybrid virtual/in person model, which is how the school is functioning this year. While it’s taken some creativity, we are more grateful than ever for their partnership and their willingness to have this discussion with their students. If you are interested in a similar presentation for your school or program, contact Katie at email@example.com.
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 our counselors are steadily responding and reaching out to clients who are on our waitlist. We connect our callers to food resources, but so often they have questions or need information about a number of issues that have been brought up or made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic.
If you feel you have been discriminated against review:how to file a client complaint and thecomplaint 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).
Join us for the Coalition’s Night to Fight Hunger Virtual Gala via Facebook or YouTube Live on November 12, 2020 at 6:30 pm. Silent Auction runs from October 30 - November 8. You must register to make a bid on silent auction items!Register to attend or make a donation today!
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!