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Food

Updated: Dec 16, 2020

COVID-19 has reinforced and even exacerbated food insecurity among college students. Check your college’s COVID-19 webpage, as well as your student portal, to access their up-to-date plans to distribute and connect students with food and other basic needs resources. For example, if your college has a food pantry you may be able to supplement your food demands, or learn about special takeout or food delivery offers for students and families in need.


If you need immediate assistance, you can find food providers in the Philadelphia area by calling 1-800-5-HUNGRY or 1-877-8-HAMBRE (for Spanish) – Monday through Friday (7am-10pm), visit whyhunger.org/FindFood, or contact via text using your zip code to 1-800-548-6479.


Access local food resources - free & low-cost

SNAP, also known as food stamps, offers eligible students up to $194 per month (for one person/household) to buy groceries. You may qualify for assistance if one of these situations apply:

  • You were approved for work-study

  • You have a low-wage job and work an average of 80 hours/month

  • Have a medical barrier to employment

  • Have children or a dependent under your care

  • Are enrolled in college at least half-time


Call BenePhilly at 1-833-373-5668 to learn if you are eligible for SNAP and get assistance with the application process. You can also download MyCompass PA app or visit www.compass.state.pa.us. When you call, remember that for many programs only your household’s income matters, and often financial aid does not count as income. If you participate in work-study, be sure to inform them that you are a work-study recipient!


Note: Other rules may apply. If you live with family members and are under 22 years old, you must apply for SNAP with your family member. If you have a meal plan covering half or more of your monthly meals, you will not be eligible for SNAP.


County Assistance Offices are not open to the public, but staff are processing applications and paperwork. To find a SNAP County Assistance Office for assistance or to process your application click here or call the customer service line 215-560- 7226.


Find other free and low-cost emergency food aid programs here.


BenePhilly Offers support and guidance with social service applications and legal assistance at various local organizations. 1-833-3737-5668

Broad Street Ministry Offers to-go lunches, support for SNAP benefits, and additional social service assistance for housing (mail service), legal assistance, and healthcare.

Catholic Social Services Offers emergency food, housing, as well as parenting and child care assistance (diapers and formula. Casa del Carmen (4400 North Reese St.) 267-331-2500 Monday to Thursday, 8:30 a.m. - 1 p.m. Northeast Philadelphia (7340 Jackson St.) 215-624-5920 Monday to Friday, 9 - 11:30 a.m. and 1 - 2 p.m. Southwest Philadelphia (6214 Grays St.) 215-724-8550 Monday 10 a.m. - 1 p.m

City of Philadelphia Food Distribution Offers a search engine to city residents to locate food distribution sites, as follows: Food site – one (1) box per household (no ID or proof of income required) School meal site – select from 63 Philadelphia School District and 25 charter schools Outdoor meal sites – one (1) meal per person (no ID or proof of income required)

The Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger Offers support for SNAP benefits and a listing of local sites offering free-meals and food pantries. Find food resources near you here. 215-430-0555 Monday to Thursday: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Friday: 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Free Meal sites by the City of Philadelphia: Philadelphia Free Meal Sites Residents can pick up one box per household. Supplies will last up to five days. Residents do not need to present an ID or proof of income for eligibility. Sites are open Mondays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. 215 S. Broad St.

Mutual Aid Philly Offers cash assistance, grocery shopping, prescription pickup, masks, prepared meals, emotional support, transportation, and other services. Complete this formto sign up for assistance. 215-798-0222 Email: mutualaidphilly@gmail.com

Philly Food Finder Offers a curated food finder map to find free and discounted food/groceries near you. Also includes the Food Access Guide that provides additional information and resources to support residents facing food insecurity.

Share Food Program Offers healthy food at no cost through dozens of pickup sites across the region, as well as home delivery for seniors and people with disabilities and significant health challenges.

Find a food distribution partner in your neighborhood here.

Learn about more local hunger relief and national free and low-cost emergency food aid programs.


Apply for SNAP / food assistance

You may be eligible for assistance through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which offers a modest monthly benefit (amounts may vary) on an electronic card you may use to purchase groceries. You may qualify for assistance if one of these situations apply:

  • You were approved for work-study

  • You have a low-wage job and work an average of 80 hours/month

  • Have a medical barrier to employment

  • Have children or a dependent under your care

  • Are enrolled in college less than halftime

If you find you need additional guidance with the application process you can contact local organizations, such as BenePhilly (1-833-3737-5668), or even a legal aid organization that can help. You can also download MyCompass PA app or visit www.compass.state.pa.us. If you participate in work study, be sure to inform them that you are a work-study recipient!


Note: Other rules may apply. If you live with family members and are under 22 years old, you must apply for SNAP with your family member. If you have a meal plan covering half or more of your monthly meals, you will not be eligible for SNAP.


County Assistance Offices are not open to the public, but staff are processing applications and paperwork. To find a SNAP County Assistance Office for assistance or to process your application click here or call the customer service line 215-560-7226.


Fresh EBT

Offers an easy and secure way to check your SNAP (food stamp) balance, save money with coupons, and explore job posts or other money-making opportunities all on your phone.


App is available in English and Spanish.


Still in need of help? Check out the other sections of the Philadelphia Local Guide.


Please note: Edquity does not endorse nor is Edquity associated with any business, organization, product or service that is mentioned in these Guides. Edquity is not responsible for ensuring the accuracy of the information provided, which may change over time. We encourage you to contact the business or organization listed to receive the most up-to-date information.

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COVID College Support was curated by Edquity and local student partners to help college students navigate emergencies during the COVID-19 crisis. 

Edquity is an application that supports college students through tough situations, from redirecting them to the right resources to providing emergency funds in times of need.

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