Lombard Central Food Pantry
As the summer months approach, and state restrictions are lifted, many people are looking forward to getting back to some semblance of normalcy as we continue to navigate through this pandemic. For our Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger team, we know that lifted restrictions and warm weather will not help thousands of individuals, children and their families in the Philadelphia region who continue to experience hunger.
The Coalition has been an anti-hunger leader for over two decades, building a regional movement to end hunger in southeastern Pennsylvania. Even in a pandemic, we remain steadfast in our mission to build a community where all people have the food they need to lead healthy lives.
That’s why this summer, the Coalition Against Hunger is working harder than ever to address food insecurity across the Philadelphia region.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, food insecurity grew in Philadelphia by 30% with even larger increases in surrounding counties. The Coalition responded to hundreds of calls from people seeking emergency food resources and SNAP benefits. Many of them were facing food insecurity for the first time in their lives due to massive layoffs and business closures brought on by COVID-19-related shutdowns. Our food pantry partners faced massive barriers in their efforts to deliver food safely due to site closures and with many pantry leaders in an age category that meant they are more vulnerable to COVID-19. We worked creatively and virtually to communicate the ever-shifting federal and state food nutrition policy changes to our clients and partners.
To meet the increase in calls to our SNAP Hotline, the Coalition has hired additional counselors to assist in processing SNAP applications and making food pantry referrals to struggling families still desperately in need of food due to recent unemployment and the lack of new opportunities as businesses are still unable to operate at full capacity due to social distancing guidelines. Our SNAP Hotline has seen a 60% increase in volume since March 2020 and we do not anticipate it getting any better for most of 2021.
The Coalition continues to work with partners to ramp up the pressure on the USDA to extend child nutrition waivers that will allow families to more easily access meals for their children while schools are closed.
Feast of Justice Food Pantry