Philabundance has partnered with state Sen. Sharif Street to help feed families who recently lost their benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
Street, along with several other prominent elected officials, met with the South Philly-based hunger relief agency on March 17 to kick off a campaign that will provide nutritious meals to 6,000 community members.
Officials say the SNAP benefits, which were put in place to help families during the pandemic, expired in February, which has affected roughly 485,000 people in Philadelphia. On a national level, households are losing about $80 in SNAP benefits each month, with some homes losing even more. Benefit expiration, along with rising inflation, has caused food insecurity to rise at sharp rates.
Street, who represents Philadelphia’s 3rd Senatorial District, has partnered with Philabundance for the 3rd Annual Driving Hunger Away During Ramadan initiative. Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, observed by Muslims worldwide as a month of fasting, prayer, reflection and community. It began on March 22 and ends on April 20, which is the same span of the campaign.
“We highlight the challenges that people face not only this month, but every month around food insecurity,” Street said. “This is a program that is one of the most meaningful ones that we have. I’m just so pleased that Philabundance has partnered with us.”
Street was joined by Philabundance CEO Loree Jones, along with several other prominent elected officials, business leaders and community supporters, to kick off the campaign. Each day during Ramadan, 200 halal meat and vegetarian meals, prepared by the Philabundance Community Kitchen culinary arts team, will be distributed.
Community members can pick up their meals at a different site each day, including housing
developments, recreation centers, community and cultural centers and medical facilities. For a full list of dates and locations, and to preregister, call 215-227-6161.
“It’s a powerful time for us as food insecurity is still on the rise,” Jones said. “We are still dealing with the impact of the pandemic, the economic crisis and inflation, and on top of that this very month, the people that got additional SNAP benefits are having harder and harder times putting food on the table. In alignment with our Good Food Policy, we’re so pleased to provide meals that are both tasty and nutritious, as well as culturally responsible and welcomed by the diverse communities we serve across this region. Food is love. We want people to feel happy and nourished in their souls and in their bodies.”