Stories from the National Hunger Hotline: Supporting Our Communities

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.

Ms. Anna (not her real name), a middle-aged woman living in eastern Tennessee, enjoys volunteering in her local community. Recently, she heard about the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), through her sister-in-law, who helped organize activities and secure an SFSP sponsor site last summer.  After hearing about the program and the benefits it offers to children and their families, Ms. Anna decided to call the National Hunger Hotline to learn how she could help establish an SFSP sponsor site for her local community.  She stressed that it was important to have programs like this one to keep children in the neighborhood out of trouble.  Ms. Anna is planning to host an enrichment program component at the site as well.  She went on to share that she was hopeful that the sponsoring site would carry forward the program in the coming years.

In addition to providing information about SFSP, an NHH advocate shared  a few other programs that Ms. Anna could propose for her community, including the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), which provides after-school meals for children, and the BackPack program, which provides food to kids for the weekend. Ms. Anna took down all of the contact information along with website addresses for WhyHunger and the USDA.

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 NHC.

India Rodgers