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Volunteer to stop hunger and food insecurity in Philadelphia

Volunteer

Give your time to food distribution nonprofits like Share Food Program! Share is an amazing food bank that feeds 700,000 people, including 300,000 school students and 7,000 senior citizens!

Share food access guide in Philadelphia

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Share this website with families in need, advocates, and hungry individuals.

Support the food system in Philadelphia

Nearly 22% of Philadelphians are food insecure, meaning they are unsure of where their next meal is coming from. Hunger exists in our neighborhoods because low-income families are forced to choose between paying rising rent, utility and medical bills and buying food.

which they People facing food insecurity in this city are making difficult choices everyday that affect their ability to thrive. When forced to stretch food dollars, families often purchase cheaper, unhealthier foods to get their children through the day and stave off the feeling of hunger. Many food-insecure seniors are choosing between buying food and paying for medicine, and may skip meals throughout the day. The consequences of these choices include malnutrition, obesity, mental health concerns, a weakened immune system, and a reduced ability to pay attention in school.

Based on this knowledge, the Philadelphia Food Policy Advisory Council’s Anti-Hunger Subcommittee identified the need for a food resources toolkit that consolidated information about how to get affordable, healthy food in Philadelphia. The subcommittee members gathered and compiled reliable information about different types of food resources for a project now known as Philly Food Finder. It was supported by FPAC from 2014 to 2018 and was picked up by Key Medium’s Coding For Causes program. Then, during the start of the pandemic, we consulted Share Food Program March 2021 to use SignUp.com as their volunteer platform and subsequently promoted slots open for volunteering in this Get Involved page and updated links to Share throughout the Philly Food Finder guide. 

PhillyFoodFinder.org, along with the printed guides that are available, have helped Philadelphians to:

1. Search for all needs in one place.

There are many dedicated anti-hunger groups working to address these important issues in Philadelphia. This toolkit serves as a way to bring all of their resources together in one comprehensive location, and makes it simple for people to get connected to emergency food, meals for children and seniors, public benefits, and fresh produce.

2. View information on-the-go.

You can access this website on a mobile phone. It can be useful for providers during a local health fair or for a community member assisting their neighbor.

3. Move beyond immediate food assistance.

Although approximately 490,000 Philadelphians currently receive SNAP (food stamp) benefits, there are still an estimated 140,000 individuals who qualify for SNAP but are not participating in the program. This website provides detailed information on applying for SNAP and other nutrition assistance programs that help thousands of low-income families buy food at the grocery store.

4. Increase awareness of underutilized resources.

The resources section of the website has specific information for senior citizens, children, and adults with disAbilities, three vulnerable populations for which access to food can be limited. This section also includes information about farmers’ markets and fresh produce options, where people can learn more about accessing healthy, nutritious food for free or at an affordable rate.

5. Influence policy.

Using data gathered from the traffic to this website, we will demonstrate to policymakers where resources are, as compared to the need. This will help them make more educated decisions about food policy and influence long-term, systemic change in our food system.

Map of location in Philadelphia

The Philly Food Finder Project

Philadelphia’s Food Access guide was originally developed by the Food Policy Advisory Council and the and the Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger with support from Penn’s Hack4Impact studio. From 2014 to 2018, the first version helped 17,000 people according to Mayor Kenney’s 1,000-day report when mentioning sustainability and access to food (v1). The second version (v2) was created by Mary Pham and launched with Key Medium’s technical support via the Coding For Causes program from late December 2018 to late March 2020, assisting 6,700 people. Amidst the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, we saw a more than 10x increase in traffic and decided to rapidly redesign and launch v3, which is a much more streamlined, self-service food access guide for hungry Philadelphians. Since March 23 2020 (when the City announced restrictions we relaunched Philly Food Finder) to late July 22 2021, over 18K Philadelphians have used PhillyFoodFinder.org to find senior meals, food banks, and more information on SNAP and WIC programs. With 66K page views, Philly Food Finder achieved a less than 13 percent bounce rate (the lower the better–this means over 87% of users engaged with the Food Access Guide).

Coding For Causes

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