The effects of COVID-19 on our community have not been limited to physical health. Food insecurity has risen dramatically across the country. With many people out of work or working reduced hours, it is difficult for many people to purchase groceries and feed themselves and their families. But there are benefits and resources available to community members. On Thursday, December 17 we held a Zoom workshop on resources for food access as a part of our COVID chat series.
During the workshop we discussed resources for food access, specifically SNAP, WIC, P-EBT and local food resources. To help share this information we invited speakers from Hunger Free NYC and God’s Love We Deliver. The workshop also featured a conversation with AMPHS Executive Director and Chief of Staff, Mon Yuck Yu, on local food distribution sites.
The following are highlights from conversations with each of our speakers:
Julia Koo, Hunger Free NYC – Navigating SNAP, WIC, and other public benefits
The mission of Hunger Free NYC is to ensure all those facing food insecurity have access to nutritious food. Applying for SNAP and WIC can be difficult and confusing, and language barriers often prevent eligible New Yorkers from applying. Hunger Free NYC helps New Yorkers navigate this process. Below are just a few of the benefits Hunger Free NYC can assist with.
SNAP Benefits (or food stamps)
The Hunger Free NYC team can help you find out if you qualify for SNAP, based on requirements that take into consideration your income, expenses, and the number of people in your household. After determining SNAP eligibility, Hunger Free NYC will walk you through the different steps of the SNAP application process, from assembling the documents required to apply for SNAP, to helping you upload documents onto Access HRA (NYC’s portal for applying for SNAP). If your SNAP benefits don’t arrive, or if you are approved to receive fewer benefits than you should – Hunger Free NYC will advocate on your behalf.
Documented immigrants can receive SNAP benefits if they have lived in the country for 5 years or more or if they are children under 18. Undocumented immigrants can still recieve benefits for their children.
You can call Hunger Free NYC to see if you are eligible for benefits at: 646-836-9177 & 646-350-1104 or you can apply online at www.nyc.gov/accessnyc
USDA National Hunger Hotline
If you need food assistance, call 1-866-3-HUNGRY, or 1-877-8-HAMBRE for assistance in Spanish, to speak with a representative who will find food resources such as meal sites, food banks, and other social services available near your location.
Hunger Free NYC helps eligible families enroll in the WIC program – a special supplemental nutrition assistance program for women, infants and children. WIC serves pregnant women, women who have recently given birth, and all children under five. WIC provides monthly food benefits for groceries, in addition to breastfeeding support, nutrition education, health care referrals and more. WIC is not considered a public charge. Receiving WIC will not affect your immigration status.
To find the WIC office nearest you call 800-522-5006 or call 866-3-HUNGRY
Ralph Wilson, God’s Love We Deliver – Medically tailored meals for those with chronic health conditions
What is God’s Love We Deliver?
God’s Love We Deliver is a non-sectarian organization whose mission is to improve the health and well-being of men, women and children living with HIV/AIDS, cancer and other serious illnesses by alleviating hunger and malnutrition. God’s Love We Deliver prepares and delivers nutritious, medically-tailored meals to people who, because of their illness, are unable to provide or prepare meals for themselves. All services are provided free to clients without regard to income.
In order to be eligible to receive services you must have a serious illness that can be verified by a physician. Examples of serious illness include but are not limited to congestive heart failure, chronic kidney disease, HIV/AIDS, and cancer. Mental health illnesses are not considered eligible for benefits. You can check your eligibility at this link.
You must also have a refrigerator to safely store meals, a way to reheat meals, and be able to be home at regular times for delivery.
God’s Love We Deliver provides lunch and dinner for five days a week. Each meal is tailored to a client’s specific medical condition. Entrees contain a protein, a vegetable, and a starch. All meals can be reheated in the oven.
Members will receive deliveries two days a week and each delivery will contain multiple meals that can be reheated in the oven or microwave.
Step 1: Download forms at glwd.org/getmeals
Step 2: Get a medical provider’s signature
Step 3: Return forms to God’s Love We Deliver
- Phone number: 212.294.8102
- Fax: 212.294.8198
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mon Yuck Yu, AMPHS – Local food distribution sites
Food pantries in Sunset Park
A food pantry is a distribution center where hungry families can receive food. You can use this link to find a food pantry near you. A couple food pantries with more consistent services are listed below. We recommend calling as appointments are sometimes needed for pick-up.
- NYU Langone Family Support Center, 718-630-7186
- OLPH Food Pantry, 347-603-7186
- Salvation Army Sunset Park, 718-438-1771 ext 0
- Center for Family Life, 718-492-3585
- World Harvest Community Center, 718-238-4000
Many organizations not centrally focused on food distribution have started distributing food during the pandemic, including the Academy of Medical and Public Health Services. AMPHS food distribution is based on supply and varies week to week. We typically text families when a food shipment arrives and we are able to distribute. To learn more about AMPHS food distribution you can call us at: 212-256-9036. Other pop-up food pantries in South Brooklyn include:
- Tzu Chi, 917-909-0682
- Parent-Child Relationship, 917-928-3738
- Chinese-American Planning Council, (718) 492-0409
Grab and Go Program
While school buildings are closed, students and families can go to nearby school buildings for takeout meals. All families and students can continue to go to any school building between 9:00 am and noon on the weekdays to pick up free grab-and-go meals. Parents and guardians may pick up meals for their children.
Meals are also available to community members without students in school. Members of the community can pick up meals from 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm, Monday to Friday
COVID-19 Mutual Aid
Many mutual aid networks have popped up in response to the pandemic and food delivery has been a central focus of mutual aid organizations across New York City. Mutual Aid organizations in South Brooklyn include:
Community FridgesA community fridge is a publicly located fridge that enables food to be shared within a community. The fridges are stocked with donated food which is free for the taking. Yafa Cafe is home to a community fridge but you can find your local fridge using this map.