Stories from the National Hunger Hotline: Help for Those Suffering in Isolation

The National Hunger Hotline (NHH), a service of WhyHunger’s National Hunger Clearinghouse, provides real-time referrals for people in need across the U.S. to emergency food and assistance programs. Receiving an average of 700 calls per month, the NHH is a portal to information, assistance, and resources, ultimately empowering families and individuals to meet their vital needs including fresh, healthy food. In Stories from the Hotline, we share some of the experiences of callers and our efforts to support them.

Robert, a 60-year old man from rural Washington, called the National Hunger Hotline on a Friday afternoon. “This is really difficult; I’ve never asked for help before, but things have gotten really bad here. I have no idea where to turn,” he told the Hotline advocate. Robert and his wife had been surviving on less than $1000 per month, most of which came from his disability check. To make ends meet, they resorted to eating dog food – and had just finished their last can. The Hotline advocate provided Robert with the phone number and address for his local food stamp office, in addition to numbers for several food pantries located in his area.

The National Hunger Hotline 1-866-3 HUNGRY and 1-877-8 HAMBRE (1-866-348-6479 and 1-877-842-6273) refers people in need of emergency food assistance to food pantries, government programs, and model grassroots organizations that work to improve access to healthy, nutritious food, and build self-reliance.  Help is available on Monday through Friday from 9am-6pm EST.  Hablamos español. The Hotline is funded in part by the USDA Food and Nutrition Service.

This article originally appeared in our monthly e-newsletter, the Clearinghouse Connection, which facilitates the exchange of information, resources and ideas among emergency food providers. To subscribe, email [email protected].

Christine Binder