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. After submitting policy recommendations, the subcommittee went on a brief hiatus and reconvened in October 2013 to review the recommendations and identify the subcommittee’s next steps.
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.
Philly Food Finder Guides
The subcommittee developed the food resources toolkit, now called Philly Food Finder, using a template generously donated by the New York City Coalition Against Hunger. The guides include information on SNAP/food stamps, food assistance programs for children and seniors, soup kitchens, food pantries, SHARE host sites that offer discounted groceries, and farmers’ markets. The guides will be divided by City Council district and available online as a free PDF.
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 third Monday of every month from 2:30pm to 4:00pm at SHARE Food Program (2901 W. Hunting Park Ave).