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Food resources assist older adults facing hunger

Alicia Colombo

By Jay Nachman

In Philadelphia, more than 16% of our neighbors go to bed hungry or face food insecurity, according to a report by the city’s Office of Homeless Services. More than 5.2 million adults, 60-plus, in America face hunger, according to Feed America. That’s one in 14 older adults.

Thankfully, a multitude of local hunger-relief organizations are working to combat food insecurity. Philadelphia’s 700 food pantries and soup kitchens feed around 500,000 people each year. If you or someone you know needs help keeping food on the table, here are some resources that can assist.


The Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) provides USDA-donated food to older adults with low incomes by providing monthly “Senior Food Boxes.” Philabundance packs and distributes 4,500 boxes to strategically chosen locations throughout the Delaware Valley, ensuring that older adults have access to shelf-stable foods to last them throughout the month. Each box contains approximately 30 pounds of canned and boxed food, including vegetables, fruit, juice, pasta, milk, cereal, canned meat and non-meat protein. A nutritional newsletter containing recipes and information is included in each box.

Philabundance features a “Find Food” directory of 350 social service agencies that distribute free food to all corners of the city. For information, call 215-339-0900 or go to

Philadelphia Corporation for Aging

PCA provides healthy, delicious pre-made meals to older Philadelphianas and adults with disabilities through its congregate, grab-and-go, and home-delivered meals programs. For more information, Click Here>> or call the PCA Helpline at 215-765-9040.


Nutrition is vital to improve health, especially for people who need nourishment to heal from a serious illness. MANNA cooks and delivers nutritious meals to residents in the Greater Philadelphia area. MANNA’s meal program is a temporary service. Qualification for service and the amount of time that each client receives MANNA meals is based on individual needs and determined by MANNA’s Nutrition and Client Services Department. For information or to apply, go to or call 215-496-2662.

City of Philadelphia

Food distribution sites provide supplemental food for Philadelphia individuals and families. All city residents are eligible. No ID or proof of income is required. For locations and other information, go to The website features a directory of food sites, general meal sites, older adult meal sites and student meal sites. You can also call 311 (within Philadelphia) or the WhyHunger Hotline at 1-800-5HUNGRY. Text your ZIP code to 1-800-548-6479 to receive a list of nearby food pantries. To locate food and other resources in your area, you can also go to

Coalition Against Hunger

The Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger strives to build a community where people have the food they need to lead healthy lives. To address the immediate need of hunger, it connects people to food pantries and soup kitchens in their neighborhoods. The coalition runs Green Light Pantries that provide only highly nutritious food. Pantry members also take part in monthly nutrition workshops and receive other services.

Each month, pantry members can choose from available foods, including fresh fruits and vegetables, brown rice, whole-wheat pasta, low-sugar cereals, non-fat milk, and lean proteins (chicken, fish, eggs and beans). Items typically found at other food pantries, such as boxed macaroni and cheese or high-sodium canned soup, are not available at Green Light Pantries.

Casa del Carmen’s Green Light Pantry, located at 4400 N. Reese St., serves residents in ZIP codes 19120, 19133 and 19134. Bilingual staff speak English and Spanish. Clients may visit the pantry once every two months. This location also operates another food pantry that serves 250 families. For information, call 267-331-2500.

Drueding Center, located at 1321 N. Lawrence St., runs a Green Light Pantry in addition to its housing and support programs for people experiencing homelessness. To sign up for the food pantry waiting list, call 215-787-3275.

Farmers markets

At the peak of the growing season, The Food Trust operates a large network of farmers markets in Philadelphia that makes fresh produce more affordable. (A small number of locations are open year-round.) These markets accept SNAP (formerly food stamps) and pandemic assistance EBT cards, Food Bucks (fruit and vegetable coupons), and Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program checks. For information, go to or call 215-575-0444.

Jay Nachman is a freelance writer in Philadelphia who tells stories for a variety of clients.

Categories: Food Milestones eNews


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