Why We Advocate
Written by: Emma Kornetsky, Government Relations Associate
Theresa’s job as an EMT doesn’t cover it all her bills. Joe’s social security benefits are never quite enough. Letitia is a single mom with epilepsy, making it difficult to work. These individuals rely on Philabundance for support each week and they were also kind enough, and strong enough, to share their personal stories.
While the specific circumstances that led each of them to seek help from a Philabundance Member Agency or program are different, the simple truth is none of them have enough money – not from their income and not from government benefits – to buy the food they need.
In Philadelphia, 12% of residents, or 186,000 people, are living below 50% of the poverty line. Which means an individual only earns $500/month (or $1000/month for a family of four). Can you imagine trying to pay all your expenses – housing, utilities, childcare, healthcare AND food – with that little money? When you have bills to pay and an empty stomach, it is difficult to envision a better future for yourself and take action to improve your circumstances.
Philabundance’s mission is to drive hunger from our communities today and end hunger forever. To do the latter we need to do more than send food to our pantries and programs; we need to change the system, and the government has a significant role to play. In fact, over 95% of food assistance in the United States comes through government-funded programs, such as school meals, food stamps and monthly senior boxes.
Our elected officials must understand the struggles their constituents face and use their vote to help us fight hunger. This is why I share stories like those of Theresa, Joe and Letitia. We need to make sure the people we serve are heard. Through advocacy, we can amplify their voices and encourage elected officials to take actions like increasing funding for food banks to purchase and distribute nutritious food, expanding job training opportunities and streamlining access to benefits.
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