How are your family and friends fighting hunger this holiday season? Talking with your community about the importance of the anti-hunger movement helps support the Coalition and our fight to end hunger. This season, share stories from the hunger fighter blog on social media to help grow the movement to end hunger!
Food Pantry & Soup Kitchens
Thank you to the food pantries and soup kitchens that participate in our Food Rescue Program. For the month of November, the groups rescued 13,112 pounds of food and 8000 pounds of water. These products helped to fill the gaps where food is most needed and reached 1970 people in 670 households in the Philadelphia area. If you have any questions, please reach out to Derek Felton at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our SNAP Hotline continues to experience an increase in calls. Thank you to our volunteers and SNAP Hotline Team for their tireless efforts to support individuals and families as they navigate the SNAP application process! Our SNAP Hotline operates Monday – Thursday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm and on Friday from 9:00 am to 4 pm at 215-430-0556.
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).
Listing (phone numbers and address) of all Philadelphia County Assistance offices. Note, however, when calling it is often quicker to contact the Customer Service Center at 215-560-7226 (Philadelphia) or 877-395-8930 (statewide).
Policy and Advocacy
At the federal level, on Wednesday a small bipartisan group of Members of Congress released a summary of a $908 billion relief package which could be added to the omnibus appropriations legislation (the bill to finalize FY 2021 federal budget). We are happy to say that a temporary 15% increase to SNAP benefits is finally included after months of concerted advocacy (see page 4 of the summary). While this temporary increase is likely to be for a shorter period that we would like, it is a good first step to getting additional help directly to those who need it most. However, with agreement on the overall bill remaining precarious, negotiations on some sticking points continue. To provide negotiators a bit more time to finalize a deal (after months of in action!)(, on Wednesday, the House overwhelmingly passed a one-week extension of the current Continuing Resolution (CR) that expires tonight at midnight. While the Senate was expected to take up the CR yesterday (Thursday), as of this morning a vote has yet to occur. Senators must overcome their squabbling to pass the stopgap measure before tonight’s deadline to avoid a federal government shutdown.
As we know all too well, until the relief package is passed, there is a chance it will change or that negotiations may fall apart. Please take a few minutes tocontact your Members of Congress to stress that they must pass a relief package before adjourning for the holidays, as well as enact a longer-term, more robust package in the new year. Millions of households across the country who are barely holding on simply cannot wait any longer for help!
Also at the federal level, the Trump administration continues its push to finalize ill-advised rules during its final weeks in office. This includes rolling back nutrition standards for school meals that both students and schools have made progress on adjusting to for several years. With the pandemic’s grip as tight as ever, we shared with Alfred Lubrano at the Philadelphia Inquirer our view that the administration should instead focus on helping those who are struggling to put food on the table right now.
On a more positive note, we are pleased to see that Tom Vilsack has been nominated as Secretary for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in the Biden-Harris Administration. If confirmed, Secretary Vilsack will reprise his role from the Obama Administration, taking the reins as an experienced leader at a time when food insecurity is growing and the need to improve access to and quality of federal nutrition programs is more crucial than ever.
Here in Pennsylvania, we want to remind you of important information about SNAP benefits that we shared last week: DHS is issuing all December SNAP benefits by today - December 11. We now have simplified flyers about this in English, Spanish, and a two-sided version for those who want to easily distribute both versions