Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger

Founded in 1996, the Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger strives to build a community where all people have the food they need to lead healthy lives. The Coalition connects people with food assistance programs and nutrition education; provides resources to a network of food pantries; and educates the public and policymakers about responsible solutions that prevent people from going hungry.
Jan 2, 2014

Ensuring all kids start their day off right

PA School Breakfast Challenge 2014
PA School Breakfast Challenge 2014

We all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but far too many low-income children aren’t getting the nutrition they need in school. 

More than 600,000 low-income children eat school lunch in Pennsylvania. But over half of those kids--56 percent--aren’t getting school breakfast. And when kids skip breakfast, it can affect their health as well as their ability to learn in school.

That’s why this school year, the Coalition Against Hunger launched the first-ever Pennsylvania School Breakfast Challenge, with the help of public and private partners across the state. 

The 2014 Pennsylvania School Breakfast Challenge aims to increase participation in the School Breakfast Program to ensure all students start their day off right. Schools that participate in the Challenge can receive technical assistance and equipment to improve their breakfast programs, from spreading the word about school breakfast to students and families to implementing alternative models of serving breakfast that are proven to boost participation. 

More than 1,100 schools have registered for the Challenge, with a total enrollment of 675,000 students.

Thanks to supporters like you, we’re ensuring all students have access to school breakfast so more children have the nutrition they need to succeed in school.

Links:

Oct 2, 2013

Back to school, after a great summer

Summer Meals for Kids in North Philadelphia
Summer Meals for Kids in North Philadelphia

It’s hard to believe that summer is already over. But thanks to supporters like you, thousands of students in the Philadelphia region went back to school last month, nourished and ready to learn.

From June through August, the Coalition Against Hunger connected more than 3,400 children in our city with free summer meals, ensuring no kid went hungry while school was out.

There were over 1,000 parks, churches, recreation centers and other community sites that offered free summer meals to children throughout the city. Despite this availability, we found that more than half of low-income students in Philadelphia were still missing out on those critical summer meals.

That’s why the Coalition works hard every summer to get the word out to families across the city who could benefit from this important nutrition program. This summer, we operated the toll-free Philly Summer Meals Hotline and text messaging service, so families could find their nearest sites.

We also partnered with community organizations, neighborhood food pantries, places of worship, libraries, health centers and more, enlisting their help to spread the word about free summer meals for kids.

By summer’s end, we had helped more than 3,400 children get free summer meals in Philadelphia, ensuring they had the nutrition they needed while school was out.

We couldn’t have done this work without the support of dedicated individuals like you.

Thank you for your help in making this summer a good one for more kids in our city, and we look forward to staying in touch throughout the year.

Jul 2, 2013

A new kind of food pantry in Philadelphia

Nutrition staff Tanya Sen and Leah Gable
Nutrition staff Tanya Sen and Leah Gable

Some staggering facts:

  • Last year, nearly half a million people in Philadelphia turned to food pantries for help.
  • At the same time, the overwhelming majority of them (70 percent) had household members with chronic disease, such as diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and high cholesterol. 

With numbers like these, we know it's no longer enough to provide food to hungry families. We must ensure that these families have nutritious food that improves their overall health, instead of just filling their bellies.

That's why last month, the Coalition Against Hunger opened a first-of-its kind food pantry in the city. Unlike most food pantries, this new program will provide only highly nutritious, quality foods to clients. We call the program our "Green Light Pantry.”

Here, we provide families with only foods that can be categorized as “Green Light Foods” under a system that ranks foods based on their Nutritional Facts labels and USDA Dietary Guidelines.

Families are also allowed to choose their own food. Among the selection: Whole-wheat pasta and cereals; low-fat milk and yogurt; fresh fruits and vegetables; and lean proteins, such as canned salmon, frozen chicken, fresh eggs, and beans with no salt added. Items that you might typically find at other food pantries—mac and cheese, for instance, or canned soups that are high in sodium—will not be carried.

Clients also attend nutrition classes every month and receive free health screenings and assistance in applying for SNAP (food stamps), school meals and other programs that can help their families afford to make healthier food choices. 

Our first Green Light Pantry opened in the Kensington section of Northeast Philadelphia this spring, and we've already seen some results.

“The Green Light Pantry gives me access to healthy and fresh grown food—things that I wouldn’t think of buying myself,” says one pantry client, Nasheeda, who has a 1-year-old son. “I now have the opportunity to change my diet and have learned how to make healthier meals.” 

We think it's a good start. Next up? A second Green Light Pantry in North Philadelphia, scheduled to open this fall.

Thank you, as always, for your support.

Whole grains
Whole grains
Produce can be hard to find in low-income areas.
Produce can be hard to find in low-income areas.
Fresh fruit
Fresh fruit

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