Stories from the National Hunger Hotline: Surviving Sandy

In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, WhyHunger’s National Hunger Hotline (1-866-3-HUNGRY) is fielding calls from hundreds of families affected by the storm, connecting them with emergency food assistance, government programs, and support in their communities to ensure they get the resources they need for today and the support to get back on their feet for tomorrow.

Cheryl, from Brooklyn, NY, called after receiving the number for the National Hunger Hotline from FEMA. Because her neighborhood still had heat, water and electricity, Cheryl was providing shelter for seven other family members and friends, including her 90-year-old grandfather, who lost his home in the storm. She told the Hotline advocate that she was running short on food for everyone. Cheryl was particularly worried about her disabled grandfather because she had to go to work and was unable to prepare meals for him during the day. The Hotline advocate provided Cheryl with contact information for local food pantries and Meals on Wheels for her grandfather. The advocate also informed Cheryl that her family may be eligible for D-SNAP (disaster food stamps) and told her more about the application process.

Nancy called the National Hunger Hotline from Union County, New Jersey, an area hard-hit by Hurricane Sandy. Her home had been without heat and electricity for eight days. “I’ve been driving two hours away for food and water, and I can’t keep doing it because there’s no gas left,” she told the Hotline advocate. Nancy did not know where she could go for relief, so the Hotline advocate provided her with phone numbers for the Red Cross and her local food bank, which were distributing emergency food, and information on how to apply for the Disaster-SNAP program.

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].

Candice Comisi