Stories from the National Hunger Hotline: Making Ends Meet

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 resources 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.

Recently, a woman from Texas called the hotline looking for food, utility, and legal assistance for a pending divorce. Her salary as a Wal-Mart cashier made her ineligible for SNAP (formerly Food Stamps)—she made just twenty dollars over the gross income necessary to be eligible for the program. She felt increasingly discouraged at the prospect of surviving on canned food from local food pantries. WhyHunger’s NHH advocate referred her to a local chapter of the Angel Food Ministries— a service that provides fresh, discounted groceries. Angel Food provides a medium-sized box of food at $30 per unit. Each month’s menu is different from the previous month and consists of both fresh and frozen items with an average retail value of approximately $60. The NHH also provided contact information for a government assistance program called the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which helps people pay their utility bills, and for a pro bono legal assistance group that helps with divorces.

WhyHunger’s National Hunger Hotline 1-866-3 HUNGRY and 1-877-8 HAMBRE (for Spanish speakers) (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. Speak to a National Hunger Hotline Advocate Monday through Friday from 9am-6pm EST. Hablamos español.

Patricia Rojas