2. Hunger Relief

This page has the following sections:
2.1 Introduction
2.2 Hunger Relief Agencies in Philadelphia Metro Region
2.3 Need Food? Need Help Buying Groceries?
2.4 Find a Food Pantry or Soup Kitchen Near You

2.1 Introduction
The Philadelphia metro region, which is commonly known as the Delaware Valley Region, is comprised of 353 municipalities within nine counties in two states: five in Pennsylvania and four in New Jersey. Philadelphia County shares the same boundary with the City of Philadelphia.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS), since 1990 almost every suburban county in this region has seen an increase in the number of households in poverty that live in the older and poorer townships and boroughs. In 2000, Philadelphia metro area became the region with the highest rate of “concentrated poverty” in the nation (i). With an overall poverty rate of 25%, Philadelphia currently is the poorest big city (population over one million) in the country (ii). The range of poverty rates among other counties in this metro region is 5.1% (Bucks County) to 11.2% (Camden County).

According to 2000 census, there were 636,364 people in Philadelphia who were at or below 200% of the federal poverty level and 336,004 people below the 100% level. Philadelphia County has 376,002 people enrolled in SNAP program (food stamp), which is 26% of the total county population – the highest figure among all counties in this region (iii). In 2009, households reporting the most serious problems of getting enough food were those with income below the poverty line (42.2%); households with children headed by single women (37.2%); Black households (25.7%); and Hispanic households (26.9%) (iv). The percentage of SNAP recipients is higher among Blacks throughout the region (v).

2.2 Hunger Relief Agencies in Philadelphia Metro Region
The hunger relief distribution and outreach activities are primarily administered by not-for-profit organizations. The Philadelphia metro region now has numerous non-profits that are fighting against hunger. Some serve as food distributors, some help people get enrolled in government supported programs, and some engage in research and act as advocates for policy changes.
Community Action Agency of Delaware County
Food Bank of South Jersey
Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger
MANNA
PhilAbundance
SHARE Food Program

2.3 Need Food? Need Help Buying Groceries?
Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger
The Coalition can help you apply for the SNAP (formerly Food Stamp) program. Call the SNAP Hotline: 215-430-0556 to find out if you qualify. If you do, they can help you apply over the phone. The Coalition can also help you find a food pantry in your community. It also helps applying for children to get free or reduced-price meals at school.

MANNA
Manna delivers free home-cooked meals and provides nutrition education and counseling to people with HIV, AIDS or life-threatening illness. 215-496-2662

PhilAbundance
Food Help Line 800-319-3663 offers an accessible and welcoming resource for those seeking assistance. In 2010, the Food Help Line received 6,002 emergency calls from those struggling to put food on their tables. Staffed five days a week with a bilingual referral specialist, the hotline directs callers to a food cupboard near their residence, or to an Emergency Food Box location.

SHARE Food Program
Share Offers $45 in groceries in exchange for $20 and two hours of community service. 215-223-2220

The Food Trust – Philly Food Bucks Program
The Food Trust and Get Healthy Philly (a program of the City of Philadelphia) offer Philly Food Bucks program at more than 25 farmers’ markets. Through the Philly Food Bucks program ACCESS card/food stamp customers receive a $2 coupon for fruits and vegetables for every $5 spent at the market. Since the introduction of Philly Food Bucks, ACCESS card/food stamp sales at Philadelphia farmers’ markets have increased by 179 percent. Click here to see a full schedule of markets.

2.4 Find a Food Pantry or Soup Kitchen Near You
The City of Philadelphia currently has about 700 cupboards and soup kitchens where people can get hunger relief, as long as the agencies are open and have enough food in their storage. Besides these agencies, the city has a complex network of organizations (federal, state, city, health, community, academic, agriculture, private foundation, etc) that offer various programs and initiatives. The following link (Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger) will show you an interactive Google map. Hundreds of food pantries and soup kitchens are listed here with hours of operation. Before you visit any food pantry or soup kitchen, please try to call the contact listed and make sure the facility is open.

Photo Courtesy: Philabundance

(i) Adams et al., 2008
(ii) Philadelphia Inquirer, 2011
(iii) State of the State report 2010, FRAC
(iv) Philabundance web site, 2010
(v) U.S. Department of Agriculture web site, 2010

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