Moving Up: How to Deal With Food Insecurity in D.C.
One of the toughest parts of poverty is hunger and it could get even harder under the administration of President Donald Trump. With control of both houses of Congress, Republicans will very likely seek to reduce the safety net that millions of people depend on to feed themselves and their families.
Part of the anger the GOP has toward the food stamp program stems from a story on Fox News from several years ago that featured Jason Greenslate, who lived in La Jolla, California, and received $200 in food stamps that he got very easily. Greenslate was a singer in a group called Ratt Life and surfed and did not have a job, which made many people upset. It also did not help that when Fox went with him to the grocery store, he bought lobster (though he pointed out it was on sale). That story helped fuel outrage by conservatives who are intent on reducing the food stamp program as much as possible.
Residents of the District who struggle with hunger have several options available to them. One is the food pantry at Bread for the City. They can provide you three days’ worth of food. The only requirement is that you must be a resident of the District and have an income that is within 200 percent of the federal poverty line. They have two locations in D.C.: one at 1525 Seventh St. NW and the other at 1640 Good Hope Road SE. Both are open till 5 p.m., but the NW location opens 30 minutes earlier. You need to bring ID (though they state you will not be turned away for lack of an ID) as well as proof of address and income.
The other place you should know about is the Capital Area Food Bank Network. They are located in the District at 4900 Puerto Rico Ave. NE and they also have a location over the river in Virginia at 6833 Hill Park Drive. One of the things they do is help people sign up for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits — food stamps — but they do so much more. They partner with other organizations to serve 540,000 people in the District area. They work to provide meals for children in school and during the summer as well as after school. They also help provide senior citizens with bags of groceries.
There are several soup kitchens in the District and the addresses and phone numbers are found in the back of this paper. In the next issue, I am going to explain all about SNAP: how to apply for it, the qualifications, how much you can get. I will make suggestions on how to make your SNAP benefits work so that you can eat all month instead of running out of food. If you have any questions or ideas for things you want me to write about, please email me at [email protected].
Arthur Johnson is a volunteer writer for Street Sense.