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Philadelphia, April 11, 2012 – To help bring awareness to the challenges faced by low-income families who rely on public assistance for food, Benefits Data Trust (BDT) will be participating in the Greater Philadelphia Food Stamp Challenge. The Challenge is designed to raise awareness about the difficulty of relying solely on food stamps by asking people to live on a Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) budget of roughly $5 a day for one week.
The Challenge will begin on Monday, April 23 and conclude the following Sunday, April 29. It is co-sponsored by the Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger and the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia.
Since its inception in 2005, BDT has been committed to easing access to valuable programs such as SNAP for hundreds of thousands of people in need. In partnership with the Pennsylvania Departments of Labor and Industry and Public Welfare, BDT currently conducts outreach to Pennsylvanians who have exhausted their unemployment benefits in an effort to help them apply for SNAP. Since 2010, BDT has helped low-income individuals process over 8,000 SNAP applications in order to access $19 million in benefits.
“From April 23rd to the 29th, we will be putting ourselves in the shoes of our clients in order to better understand food insecurity and its consequences,” said Ginger Zielinskie, executive director of BDT. “We encourage our employees, public officials, and local leaders to take the challenge to learn what it is like to live on a SNAP budget.”
The Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger reports that one in four Philadelphians are at risk for hunger, more than double the rates reported at both the national and state levels. SNAP is the nation’s most important program in fighting hunger, and more than 460,000 Philadelphia residents depend on this benefit to afford food for themselves and their families.
BDT will be documenting its challenge experience on its website www.bdtrust.org.
Benefits Data Trust (BDT) is a national nonprofit that helps people live healthier, more independent lives by creating smarter ways to access essential benefits and services. Each year, BDT helps tens of thousands of people receive critical supports using data, technology, targeted outreach, and policy change. Since inception in 2005, BDT has submitted over 800,000 applications – more than any other single entity in the country – securing over $7 billion in benefits and services. BDT employs more than 170 people and provides enrollment assistance to individuals in six states, and policy assistance to states nationwide. For more information, visit bdtrust.org.