Every year, we recognize National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week right before the holiday season. The timing is intentional. As many safely gather with families, we can also take time to think about those who do not have a safe place to call home or know when they will enjoy their next meal.

Philadelphia’s homeless service system has made significant progress through its housing-first approach.  Our innovative approach has resulted in a 35% reduction in homelessness over a 6-year period. Philadelphia’s OHS system has received national attention and is studied by cities like Los Angeles, New York, and Austin. While we have many accomplishments to celebrate, there is still work to be done. In Philadelphia, about 15.7% of your neighbors go to bed hungry or face food insecurity and there are still about 4500 Philadelphians experiencing homelessness.

While we know what works and could effectively end family, youth and chronic street homelessness in Philadelphia, this work is broad and our resources are just too limited. That’s why awareness weeks, such as Homeless and Hunger Awareness Week are so important. They give voice to the hope, urgency and possibility of making homelessness rare, brief and non-recurring.

What you can do

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

  1. Attend one, or all, of the Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week events we’ve listed below and familiarize yourself with the resources and services available in Philadelphia.
  2. Join the conversation on X by retweeting service organizations or even by tweeting yourself, using #HHWEEK, #HHWeekPHL, #HHAwareness. To join the national conversation, you can share a picture of your table and discuss the importance of food security and housing. Organizers ask that folks use the hashtag #ShareYourTable when posting this content.
  3. Share this blog on your personal X and Facebook profiles.

Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week 2023 Events

Kensington Community Meals

Tuesday, November 14 @ 11 a.m.-12.p.m.

Kensington Community Meals (KCM) is an anti-hunger collaborative and coalition building project to engage meal providers in Kensington and help build their organizational capacity.  Our meetings bring together meal providers, community groups, city departments, and residents to discuss food access issues in Kensington and the surrounding neighborhoods. This meeting is a great opportunity to connect with other folks fighting food insecurity, share resources, and receive up-to-date training. Register for the November meeting here.

New Vision Youth Community Center – Kensington Food Service and Donations

Tuesday, November 14 @ 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Every Tuesday, New Vision Youth Community Center provides breakfast sandwiches to folks in need. They serve in Kensington from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.  on Tuesdays.

Feast of Justice – Choice Market Food Distribution

Wednesday, November 15, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Come serve in Feast of Justice’s 100% volunteer-staffed, grocery store food pantry! Create relationships with volunteers and guests while feeding the community in Northeast Philadelphia. Volunteers are asked to arrive an hour before distribution begins in order to form teams, restock shelves, and assign volunteer roles. Roles vary from checking guests in, greeting guests, restocking fresh produce, packing online orders, bagging groceries, and more. You can sign up to volunteer using Sign Up Genius.

Family Promise of Philadelphia – Empty the Bowl

Wednesday, November 15, 5:30 pm to 6:00 pm and 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm

The Empty Bowl Dinner 2023 is the 22nd Annual Dinner where guests can enjoy the all-you-can-eat feast of fresh bread, soups and desserts. It is an family friendly event night of activities and live entertainment while supporting FPP’s mission to end family homelessness, one family at a time. Students have made ceramic bowls for everyone to take home as a reminder that every night 1,000 Philadelphia children go without a meal or a place to call home. This event is about helping to change this.

OHS Panel Discussion: Hunger and Homelessness in Philadelphia

Friday, November 17 @ 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

The Office of Homeless Services (OHS) is thrilled to welcome experts to discuss the current landscape of hunger and homelessness in Philadelphia. Attendees will hear about OHS’ work and will learn more about the agency’s extensive provider network. We hope you will join us on Zoom on November 17!

Bethesda Project – Cocktails for a Cause at Rex at the Royal

Friday, November 17 @ 6 p.m. and 8:30pm (two sittings)

Join Bethesda Project at Rex at the Royal for a guided spirit and cocktail tasting and demonstration. The lineup features three spirits for you to sip as you learn not just about the spirits themselves, but also how to taste, how to pair with other flavors, and how to pick something out for your home bar. You’ll go home with a gift bag including a cocktail glass, recipe card and spirit-infusion kit, so you can show off what you learned at your next cocktail party! This event benefits Bethesda Project, a nonprofit that operates 15 shelters across the city. Reserve your spot today!

Philly House – #PurpleOut

Friday, November 17

“Purple Out” is Philly House‘s city-wide initiative on November 17 to bring awareness to the homelessness crisis in Philadelphia. Many buildings in the Philly skyline will tint their lights purple, and you can participate by wearing purple, posting to social media with hashtag “#PurpleOut”, or donating to the Purple Out campaign.

Philabundance – Camp Out for Hunger

Monday, November 13-Friday, November 17, beginning at 6 a.m. daily

For the 26th year in a row, Philabundance is joining forces with WMMR’s Preston & Steve to end hunger for good and to provide healthy meals to communities facing food insecurity in the Southeastern Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey regions this holiday season. The week-long live broadcast blitz and food drive will feature local and national celebrities, TV personalities, star athletes, and many other dedicated hunger heroes who come together each year to support this vital cause. Camp Out for Hunger is open to everyone, and visitors are encouraged to bring canned goods and other non-perishables to help us feed our neighbors in need. We thank you in advance for your support, and we can’t wait to rock out with you!

Chosen 300 – Meal Distribution

Meal distribution occurring throughout the week

Chosen 300 serves meals every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 6 p.m.. In addition, they serve meals on Saturdays at 5 p.m. and on Sundays at 9:30 a.m.. Meals are available at 1116 Spring Garden Avenue. They do not close for holidays, weather, or any other reason. Anyone interested in volunteering do not have to make an appointment, but groups of more than 5 people should call (215) 765-9807 to schedule ahead.

The Welcome Church – Pay It Forward

Hart of Catering – Open 7 days a week, 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Pay It Forward is a program envisioned to help us all share food together and allow each person increased opportunities to eat with dignity. At Pay-It-Forward restaurants, customers can choose to purchase a meal or snack for a neighbor in need. They will receive a sticky note to place on the wall, which someone can later redeem for food. The current restaurant partner is Hart of Catering at 21st & Sansom. You are invited to visit Hart of Catering and give to Pay It Forward there or donate to the Pay It Forward campaign online.

Feeding 5000 – Meal Distribution

Multiple meal distributions occurring throughout the week

Feeding 5000 serves meals on Sundays at 10:30 a.m. and Wednesdays at 9 a.m.. They are in need of volunteers and donations. They are specifically in need of  jeans, sweatshirts, coats, and blankets donations. Please email feeding5000@comcast.net to indicate interest in volunteering and/or request information about donations drop-off locations.

Broad Street Ministry – Meal Distribution

Multiple meal distributions occurring throughout the week

Broad Street Ministry practices radical hospitality. They embrace all individuals of our community with enduring empathy and care. Monday through Friday, BSM offers various programs and services. One of their most highlighted programs is the lunch program. Their goal is to make sure every guest has a sit down meal at a table where they can connect and leave feeling full and satisfied. Sign up to volunteer in one of the many volunteer roles  – lunch server, mail room sorter, and personal clothing shopper. Those interested in making a monetary donation can do so online.

Women of Excellence – Family Resource Packets & Nutrition Coloring Booklets Distribution

Multiple distributions occurring throughout the week

In recognition of Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Week, Women of Excellence will be distributing Family Resource Packets & Nutrition Coloring Booklets to local Head Starts and other early childhood education programs throughout the 19133 zip code area. The packet will include information regarding how to acquire emergency resources, updated SNAP info, and a comprehensive listing of citywide food pantries, as well as, nutrition coloring activities exploring diverse foods and holidays.

Whitsons Culinary Group – Enhancing Life Program

November 11 – November 18

Whitsons Culinary Group is supporting Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week with an initiative in their Enhancing Life Program, a program which helps connect Whitsons’ location teams to their local communities to make a positive difference. As part of the initiative, Whitsons’ have encouraged their teams to participate in one of four options: host a drive, organize a food rescue initiative, volunteer in person, or host a job readiness event. A goal of the initiative is to connect Whitson location teams with local anti-poverty organizations so that this week will serve as a launch for partnerships that extend beyond the week for future projects throughout the year.

Continue to be Involved After Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Week

Church of Christian Compassion – Thanksgiving Event

Monday, November 20, 10:30 a.m. – 8 p.m.

The Church of Christian Compassion will be holding its annual Thanksgiving Event on Monday, November 20. They will be delivering food, clothing, and toiletries to shelters across the city. Anyone who is interested in volunteering should email lakishadent@hotmail.com to indicate their interest. Volunteers must attend a training on Saturday, November 18 at 10 a.m. at the Church of Christian Compassion (6121 Cedar Avenue).

Thompson Ministries – Thanksgiving Drive

Saturday, November 25 @ 12 p.m. – 3 p.m.

Join Thompson Ministries for a Thanksgiving Drive at Kensington and Allegheny (under the El). Hygiene products, food, water, clothing, and sneakers will be available to folks in the neighborhood. Please feel free to stop by between 12 p.m. and 3 p.m. on November 25!

Addressing Philadelphia Homelessness: Healthier Streets, Better Business

Tuesday, November 28 @ 9 a.m. – 11 a.m.

In celebration of Giving Tuesday and Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, the Shared Public Spaces Initiative invites Philadelphians to join us for a conversation about homelessness in Philadelphia. Providers from across the city will discuss their lifesaving work and speak about ways Philadelphians can join the fight to make homelessness rare, brief, and nonrecurring. The event will take place at the Loews Hotel (1200 Market Street) on November 28 from 9 a.m. – 11 a.m..

Contact Information

Please contact Food Services Special Events Manager Clare Maus (clare.maus@phila.gov) with any questions you may have about Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week.