Food Insecurity a Continuing Concern in COVID-19 Holiday Season

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Nearly one in five Americans is currently supplementing their food supply with charitable donations. And as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, food banks and pantries across the country are struggling as donations are not keeping up with an increasing demand.

In Philadelphia, the Jewish Federation’s Mitzvah Food Program’s five pantries are serving more clients than ever before. Each of the food pantry locations distribute nutritious food to all who are in need, regardless of race, income, gender, age or religion.

With broad-based support from the region’s Jewish community and hunger relief agencies, the Mitzvah Food Program, which initially distributed food through a single community site, has expanded its geographic reach throughout Philadelphia and into the region’s lower-income suburban neighborhoods.


The program benefits from both the support of an advisory committee made up of active community members, local nutritionists, and site leaders and a team of dedicated volunteers that keep our pantries and deliveries running smoothly. We also work with local and state hunger relief organizations, synagogues, and community organizations to acquire low-cost food staples and with volunteer groups throughout the region to organize food drives.

Visitors choose the foods they like from the inventory, rather than receiving a one-size-fits-all package. The pantries are stocked thanks to donations from generous community members, the Jewish Federation, the Pennsylvania State Food Purchase Program, grants, Philabundance and other sources.

Over 23,000 (12%) Jewish households in our region face food insecurity, with 8% of households reporting that they receive SNAP benefits.
Approximately one in seven Jewish households are living in or near poverty, defined as living at or below 200% of the federal poverty line. Food insecurity is significantly higher among those at or below poverty thresholds, with 46% of Jewish households that are at or below 200% of the federal poverty index identified as food insecure, strongly suggesting that SNAP and other public food assistance are not meeting their needs. Also notable is that one in five households (19%) with children is food insecure.

Other statistics:

Fifteen percent of Jewish households are receiving some sort of public benefit, including SSI, SSDI, PACE or SNAP.

More than 20% of adults ages 18 to 39 are poor or near poor, along with 14% of adults age 65 or older.

One in four households in Delaware County and one in five households in Philadelphia County are poor or near poor.

Thirty-one percent of Jewish households that emigrated from Russia or the FSU are at or below 200% of the poverty line (poor or near poor).

For anyone in need of food support this holiday season, or if you’d like to drop off a donation, the Mitzvah Food Program pantries can be found at the following locations. To make a financial contribution or to learn more, visit jewishphilly.org/resources/mitzvah-food-program.

MITZVAH FOOD PROGRAM
OLD YORK ROAD
Beth Sholom Congregation
8231 Old York Road
Elkins Park, PA 19027
Call for information 215-832-0509

DISTRIBUTION WALK-IN HOURS
Every Wednesday: 1-3 p.m.
Every Wednesday: 6-6:30 p.m. for Montgomery County clients only.

DONATION DROP-OFF
Monday-Friday: 8:30 a.m.-2 p.m.
MITZVAH FOOD PROGRAM
LOWER BUCKS COUNTY
Congregation Tifereth Israel of Lower Bucks County
2909 Bristol Road
Bensalem, PA 19020
Call for information 215-832-0815

DISTRIBUTION WALK-IN HOURS
Every Tuesday: 4-5:30 p.m.
DONATION DROP-OFF
Monday-Thursday: 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
Friday: 9 a.m.-1 p.m.

MITZVAH FOOD PROGRAM CENTER CITY
Jewish Community Services Building
2100 Arch St.
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Call for information 215-832-0815

DISTRIBUTION WALK-IN HOURS
First and third Thursday of the month: 5-6:30 p.m.

DONATION DROP-OFF
Monday-Thursday: 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Friday: 9 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
MITZVAH FOOD PROGRAM MAINLINE
JFCS – Barbara and Harvey Brodsky
Enrichment Center
345 Montgomery Ave.
Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004
Call for information 215-832-0831

DISTRIBUTION WALK-IN HOURS
Every Thursday, 1:30–3:30 p.m.

DONATION DROP-OFF
Please call 215-832-0509 prior to donating.
MITZVAH FOOD PROGRAM NORTHEAST
KleinLife
10100 Jamison Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19116
Call for information 215-832-0620

DISTRIBUTION WALK-IN HOURS
Tuesday: 1-6:30 p.m. walkthrough clients. SmartChoice remote orders must make an appointment.
Wednesday: 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m. SmartChoice remote orders must make an appointment. Russian language assistance available.
Thursday: 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m. SmartChoice remote orders must make an appointment. Russian language assistance available.
Fridays: 10 a.m.-1 p.m. SmartChoice remote orders must make an appointment.

DONATION DROP-OFF
Monday–Friday: 9 a.m.-3 p.m.

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