By Amara O’Connell, Food Services Special Events Manager, Office of Homeless Services
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 we are thankful for and think about those who do not have a safe place to call home or certainty about where their next meal will come from.
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, too many people continue to experience homelessness and housing insecurity. There are about 700 people on the street at any given time and 3400 in our various programs. Many live with disabilities.
Our homeless service system has made significant progress: we’ve reduced street homelessness to a four-year low by investing in evidence-based supportive housing, added daytime services and expanded homelessness prevention. We provide 24 hour a day outreach, and have lowered barriers to entry into the homeless and treatment systems.
But the tragic fact is that, while we know what works and could effectively end family, youth and chronic street homelessness in Philadelphia, our resources are just too limited to do so. That is why awareness weeks, advocacy days, and calls-to-action are so important to give voice to the hope, urgency and possibility of making homelessness rare, brief and nonrecurring. .
What you can do
Here are three ways you can raise awareness and support those affected by hunger and homelessness right now.
- 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.
- Join the conversation on Twitter by retweeting others or service organizations or even by tweeting yourself using #HHWEEK. Join the national conversation by tweeting about what sharing your table means to you, using the hashtag #ShareYourTable
- Share this blog on your own Twitter and Facebook profiles.
Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week 2021 Events
Thanksgiving Food Drive
Chosen 300- West Philadelphia
3959 Lancaster Ave.
Monday and Friday | 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Tuesday-Thursday | 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Chosen 300- Center City
1116 Spring Garden St.
Monday, Wednesday, and Friday | 2:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Saturday | 2:00 p.m.-5::00 p.m.
Sunday | 8:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
Chosen 300 will be collecting food for their Thanksgiving baskets and additional items to fill their pantry. They will also be collecting toiletry items and kits, and winter items such as blankets, hats, gloves, socks, hand/shoe warmers, etc. Lastly, Chosen 300 is accepting monetary donations to cover costs of food throughout the year. All donations can be made at the above locations and times, mailed to 30 Ardmore Ave, Box #95, Ardmore, PA 19003, or online here. Volunteer opportunities are always available as well. Volunteers can show up at any of our locations during our meal service hours. View schedule here. Volunteers in groups of 5 or more should give us a call at 215-243-0300 or email: email@example.com to sign up. For any questions or concerns, please contact Sherica Douglas.
Leading up to Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, you can purchase a portrait of your home drawn, painted, crafted, or even digitally created in a range of artistic ability levels. Take your chance for just $30 – all proceeds support Bethesda Project’s programs and services. Sales open on October 25, 2021 and close at midnight on November 22, 2021 on the organization’s merch page. In addition, Schmear It will once again raise funds for Bethesda Project for the entire month of November. The Bethesda Project is also looking for donations from their wishlist to give out to their participants this November. Questions or more information needed? Contact the Bethesda Project.
MANNA (Metropolitan Area Neighborhood Nutrition Alliance)
420 North 20th St.
Looking to put a delicious pie on the table and contribute to a good cause? There’s still time to order pies through MANNA‘s annual Pie in the Sky fund-raiser. The organization, which brings food and aid to people at acute nutritional risk from life-threatening diseases, is selling a selection of pies, including berry, pumpkin, apple, pecan, sweet potato, and a chocolate-and-caramel signature cheesecake. Prices range from $30 to $35. Order pies online by Nov. 19.
OHS Winter Clothing Donations
OHS partners and providers are currently accepting t-shirts, gloves, hats, scarves, etc. for the winter season. Some small care packages with washcloth, toothpaste, toothbrush, mouthwash, deodorant, etc, are also acceptable to hand out before a special day such as Thanksgiving and Christmas. Here, you will find information on how to donate to the provider and the items they are currently accepting. Please contact the provider via email to safely coordinate drop off and for additional information.
Local information and resources about hunger and food insecurity
SNAP Community Education | Learn about SNAP benefits and your eligibility.
Philadelphia Food Sites | Find food distribution sites in Philadelphia near you.
Free Meals Flyer in English & Spanish | 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.