Every year, we recognize National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week right before Thanksgiving. The timing is intentional. As many safely gather with families, we take time to consider what they are thankful for and inevitably think about those who are less fortunate. In Philadelphia, about 16.3% of your neighbors go to bed hungry or face food insecurity.

While Philadelphia has the lowest number of people who are unsheltered among the largest US cities, we continue to face the challenge of homelessness in our city. There are about 950 people on the street at any given time. Many, if not most, of them live with serious disabilities, including mental illness.

The Office of Homeless Services (OHS) and its provider network, has made significant progress: we’ve reduced street homelessness to a four-year low by investing in evidence-based supportive housing, added daytime services, conducted extensive outreach, and lowered barriers to entry.

But the tragic fact is that, while we know what works and could effectively end chronic street homelessness in our City, our resources are limited. That is why awareness weeks, advocacy days, and calls-to-action are so important to our work.

What you can do

There are three ways you can raise awareness and support those affected by hunger and homelessness right now.

  1. Safely attend one, or all, of the Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week events listed below and familiarize yourself with the resources and services available in Philadelphia.
  2. Join the conversation on Twitter by retweeting others or service organizations or even by tweeting yourself using #HHWEEK.
  3. Share this blog on your own Twitter and Facebook profiles.

Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week 2020 Events

Jewish Relief Agency November Food Distribution
November 11, 13, and 15 | 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. | 10980 Dutton Rd.
Help safely deliver boxes of food to recipients in need this November! “Express Pick-Up” and “Knock, Drop, and Go” policies are implemented as safety measures and policies. Sign up for a pick-up day and delivery route.

OHS Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Week Virtual Roundtable
Friday, November 13 | 11:15 a.m.
Learn how OHS has kept residents and staff safe, Broad Street Ministry has fought food insecurity, and young adults have coped through the COVID-19 pandemic. Sign up to join the conversation.

Chosen 300 Thanksgiving Food Drive
West Philadelphia: Monday – Friday | 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. | 3959 Lancaster Ave.
Center City: Monday, Wednesday, Friday, & Saturday | 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. | 1116 Spring Garden St.
Bring in your non-perishable and dry goods as a donation to the nonprofits’ Thanksgiving Food Drive, which helps families in need.

Pathways to Housing PA Pantry Donation Drive
Monday – Friday | 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. | 5201 Old York Road, 4th Floor
Bring your pantry items to the nonprofit’s donation drive. Collected items will stock the emergency food pantry for Philadelphian’s experiencing food insecurity.

MANNA Pie in the Sky 2020
Orders accepted until Friday, November 20
Metropolitan Area Neighborhood Nutrition Alliance (MANNA) | 420 North 20th St.
Give back while giving thanks when you support MANNA’s signature event and raise awareness about family hunger and homelessness. Now in its 24th year, Pie in the Sky supports nutritional services for people living with life-threatening diseases. Order your pie.

Bethel Presbyterian Church Thanksgiving Community Meal
Thursday, November 26 | 12 p.m. – 3 p.m. | 1900 West York St.
Donate or volunteer! Drop off self-stable food items and supplies as a donation to the church’s holiday programs and its annual Thanksgiving Community Meal. Interested in helping to serve the delicious Thanksgiving meal to attendees? Send an email to event organizers.

City-Wide Winter Clothing Donations
Provide comfort and help to your neighbors experiencing homelessness by donating winter clothing. Various Philadelphia area nonprofit providers are currently accepting handmade and new items such as t-shirts, gloves, hats, and scarves. Find out what’s needed and how to safely coordinate drop off.

Local information and resources about hunger and food insecurity

SNAP Community Education | Learn about SNAP benefits and your eligibility.

Share Food Program and Philabundance | Donate food to Philadelphia food banks.

Free Meals Flyer | A full list of free meal services accessible to the public during COVID-19 compiled by the Office of Homeless Services.

Hunger in Philadelphia Dashboard | Find statistics and data about hunger and homelessness from the Office of Homeless Services.