Need Food? How to Get Help in Chester County
Finding yourself in a position of food insecurity can happen at any time. It’s not pleasant to think about, but an injury, layoff from work, family illness, or another unforeseen change can drastically affect your circumstances.
This scenario understandably makes many people feel vulnerable and overwhelmed, and figuring out how and where to ask for help can be a challenge. If you don’t know where to turn, we’re here to help. Chester County Food Bank has made it our mission to help our neighbors in need combat food insecurity by connecting them with programs and resources across the county that can be of assistance. From our Weekend Backpack Program for school-aged children to our Grocery Boxes for Seniors, our staff and team of dedicated volunteers work tirelessly to make sure that no one in our community is overlooked.
First, see if you fall within the footprint of our region by visiting the Need Food button in the upper right of our website. There is an interactive map that illustrates our impact across Chester County. You can look for your community and find a food pantry and hot meal sites. There’s a difference between a food bank like we are, and the food pantries that actually send clients home with food. So while we aren’t a pick-up site for food, we can connect you with one of the 160 local agencies we work with where that service is available. If you’d prefer to speak with someone on the phone, call us at (610) 873-6000 and we’ll help you identify a hunger relief agency that serves your part of town. We also have staff members that speak Spanish.
Once you find a food pantry or cupboard close to your home (usually based on school district lines), you’ll need to gather a few materials to sign up.
To qualify at a food cupboard, a client must:
- Provide name, date of birth, and proof of address.
- Report total household income (this is a self-declaration based on 150% of the poverty line).
Learn more about this process here.
Outside of food cupboards, there are a number of social service organizations throughout Chester County. Get more info at our Community Partners page about the ways the agencies we work with can help to provide food, shelter, childcare, counseling, and other services.
If you do need help beyond food, it’s easy to find human and social service resources in your neighborhood by calling or visiting 2-1-1, a regional social services hotline. To call, simply dial 2-1-1 or (866) 964-7922; the line is open 7 days a week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and interpreter services are available in more than 140 languages. During this free, confidential call, you’ll be connected with a 2-1-1 Southeastern Pennsylvania information and referral specialist. For assistance in finding social services such as health, basic needs, mental health, and drug and alcohol treatment, review the Department of Human Services Community Resource Guide.
We hope this has been a helpful resource for anyone looking for ways to get help. Feel free to call Chester County Food Bank anytime during our operating hours (Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.) with questions or for further assistance.
The Chester County Food Bank is the central hunger relief organization serving more than 160 food cupboards, meal sites, and social service organizations throughout Chester County. We mobilize our community to ensure access to real, healthy food.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in December 2018 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.