Stories from the National Hunger Hotline: Supporting Our Heroes and Their Families

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.

Recently, we heard from Mrs. John who called the Hotline looking for assistance in providing food for her family for the next 30 to 60 days.  Her husband, a veteran of the Iraq War was discharged from the military over two months ago for a medical disability stemming from his time in the service.  As the primary bread winner for the family, Mrs. John’s husband’s loss of employment left the family sitting in limbo while they waited for their application for SNAP (formerly known as food stamps) to be approved – a process that can take up to two months.

An NHH Advocate was able to provide Mrs. John with a referral to a KidsCafe in her community, where children receive dinner meals, as well as a mobile pantry sponsored by the regional food bank. The advocate also provided referrals to local pantries and the contact information to the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which assists in paying utility bills.

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