Hunger is a continuous challenge for Philadelphia. Nearly one in four residents is food insecure, and as a result, at any given time there are thousands of residents looking for a meal. As a city, we have struggled for decades to figure out ways to ensure all Philadelphians can have secure access to nutritious food and vital services in safe and dignified settings. The Philadelphia Food Access Collaborative, which launched officially in December 2012, seeks to build effective, partnership-based solutions to address the challenge of reducing hunger in Philadelphia and to better serve the needs of vulnerable individuals who seek emergency congregant meals by strengthening connections to key social services.
The goals of the Collaborative are:
- To increase access to free food that is provided in safe and dignified settings
- To improve the nutritional quality of food distributed by emergency food providers (meal sites, food pantries, shelters)
- To build additional connections to needed social and health services through those providers
The Collaborative takes a collective impact approach to addressing these complex issues. The overall goal of the work is to build new partnerships to improve the health and stabilize the lives of meal guests, and reduce hunger in Philadelphia.
Some helpful links:
Food Access Collaborative Free Meals Flyer – schedule of free meals available in Philadelphia including times, locations and contact information for meal sites.
Food Access Collaborative Dashboard of Hunger in Philadelphia – data on food access in Philadelphia gathered in part from the Collaborative’s annual surveys of meal providers and meal guests.
Phila.gov/food – A searchable map of free food and meal sites in Philadelphia for any resident including youth, older adults, and people experiencing hunger and homelessness. The map includes site address, contact information and hours, is searchable by address, and is available in six languages.
BenePhilly – in-person or telephone support for Philadelphia residents to enroll in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)/Food Stamps, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Health Insurance (CHIP, Medicaid, Medicare), Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and more.
Food Connect – food rescue service that delivers excess prepared food from events and businesses to meal sites and other emergency meal providers.
211 – phone support 24 hours a day to connect and refer people to important health and social services in the region.