The Anti-Hunger Subcommittee connects advocates to address food insecurity by educating the Philadelphia community, improving access to culturally appropriate, healthy, and affordable food, and developing policy recommendations that support systemic change.
The Anti-Hunger Subcommittee convenes stakeholders working at a number of organizations fighting hunger in Philadelphia.
The subcommittee began in 2011 when Mayor Nutter seated the first appointed members to the Council. Members immediately identified hunger as a priority issue, given that a quarter of Philadelphians are at risk for hunger. Between 2011 and 2012, the subcommittee conducted research and developed policy recommendations for the Administration.
In 2013, the subcommittee decided to move into implementation and tackle one of the policy recommendations: To institute outreach and awareness campaigns about public benefits that alleviate hunger, including SNAP enrollment and utilization at farmers’ markets. Members identified the need for a comprehensive food resources toolkit that includes information about where and how to access affordable food and nutrition assistance programs in Philadelphia. Between 2013 and 2015, the subcommittee focused on conducting research and developing and distributing this toolkit, now known as Philly Food Finder.
2018 Farm Bill
The Philadelphia region currently relies on over $86 million per month in SNAP benefits to help families address hunger and afford a nutritious diet. SNAP benefits are a vital economy booster in underserved communities by allowing dollars to flow directly from recipients to local businesses like grocery stores and farmers’ markets. Those retailers and farmers, in turn, provide jobs and economic stability to neighborhoods across the country. The Anti-Hunger subcommittee recommends that Congress not allow any cuts, block grants, or structural changes to SNAP that would result in an increase in hunger for American families and children. Congress should also fully fund The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) to further support the fight against hunger.
For more information on the subcommittee’s policy work and what you can do to support anti-hunger efforts, join the Anti-Hunger Google Group! For other ways to get involved, check out Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger’s SNAP petition at www.hungercoalition.org/advocacy and www.healthyfoodaccess.org.
Food Resources 101 for City Council
On March 8th, 2018, the Anti-Hunger subcommittee convened a Food Resources 101 for City Council, hosted by Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown in partnership with FPAC. The workshop was an opportunity for Council members to get an update on hunger in Philadelphia and to learn about local organizations improving food insecurity. It was a full house, with many Council members and staffers in the room! After the session, subcommittee members hosted a resource fair to distribute materials from their hunger-fighting organizations.
Thanks to all of the presenters and resource tablers for sharing your expertise, increasing awareness of anti-hunger work in the city, and advocating for protection of critical state and federal programs!
Philly Food Finder Guides
The subcommittee released printable PDFs of Philly Food Finder for each City Council District in March 2018. Guides include information on SNAP/food stamps, meals for kids, senior meals, soup kitchens, food pantries, and farmers’ markets. The FPAC Anti-Hunger subcommittee also presented on Philly Food Finder at a Food Resources 101 briefing for City Council in March, and have made booklets available to each City Council office.
Through Philly Food Finder, Philadelphians can search for these resources in one place, view information on-the-go, and learn about applying for SNAP and other nutrition assistance programs. Food providers can also add and update resources through a simple form.
In September 2014, the subcommittee partnered with the Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger and Hack4Impact to develop an interactive, online version of the food resources toolkits. Hack4Impact is a University of Pennsylvania student group that donates their services developing web applications for nonprofit organizations. A small team of students spent five months creating PhillyFoodFinder.org, which offers online access to a comprehensive map of food resources that is searchable by address.
Healthy Food and Food Access Focus Group
In November 2013, the subcommittee partnered with the Restaurant Opportunities Center to host a focus group with restaurant industry workers. The subcommittee developed questions and an interactive activity to survey participants on eating healthily, how and where they would go to find food resources if they were struggling to buy food, and how they access information in general. Through this exercise, the subcommittee identified a gap between those who qualified for SNAP benefits, and those who utilized the benefits. The subcommittee was surprised to learn that the majority of participants were online most of the day. Analysis from this focus group helped inform both the content and the format of the food resources toolkit.
The subcommittee meets on the second Tuesday of every month from 2:30pm to 4:00pm at Share Food Program (2901 W. Hunting Park Ave).