Governor Tom Wolf today announced nearly $16 million in funding for Pennsylvania food banks, which are providing critical assistance to Pennsylvanians during the COVID-19 health crisis.
“COVID-19 has caused severe economic stress for many Pennsylvanians, and as a result our food banks have been working in overdrive with unprecedented demand,” Wolf said. “We’re proud of the Pennsylvanians who are sacrificing so much for the greater good. We’ll continue to push hard and advocate on their behalf, because no one should have to go without when they’re doing their part to save lives.”
The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture has received $14.9 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) in Pennsylvania to provide critical support and food to Pennsylvania’s food banks and emergency food assistance network working to feed the hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians. These funds were provided as a result of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act which was passed by Congress and enacted into law on March 18, 2020.
The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture will push $3.75 million in TEFAP money directly to 18 food banks in Pennsylvania to cover administrative costs associated with storage, transportation, and distribution of USDA Foods. In addition to this direct funding, the department will distribute $11.15 million in USDA Foods – including meats, vegetables, canned goods, cereal, rice, pasta, eggs, and more – to the state’s food banks to distribute through their network of distribution sites. The food and funding will be disbursed statewide to all 67 counties and distributed according to population and need.
Additionally, through an emergency contract with the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture is providing Hunger-Free Pennsylvania and their network of members $1 million in emergency funding for food and supplies.
“COVID-19 has turned Pennsylvania upside down and forced thousands out of jobs as we work to flatten the curve, but we’re not willing to accept hunger as our next pandemic,” said Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding. “We’ll do whatever we can to support our charitable food system, it’s a system that’s supporting hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians doing their part to slow the spread for the health of Pennsylvania.”
Hunger-Free Pennsylvania is the state’s largest nonprofit provider of food resources for hungry Pennsylvanians. The funding will be equitably distributed, based on the population of individuals in need, across their network of 18 food banks in all 67 Pennsylvania counties.
“Since this crisis began in early March, our food banks and pantries have been working hard to continue to meet the needs of the more than 1.5 million Pennsylvanians who were already facing hunger, while also stepping up to support our neighbors who are newly out of work and need assistance,” said Hunger-Free Pennsylvania Executive Director Sheila Christopher. “At a time when our members are serving more individuals in need than ever before, we are incredibly grateful for the support of Governor Wolf and the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture for identifying resources that will help us continue to meet the critical need.”
The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture has provided guidance to food assistance agencies to continue distributing food to those in need and protect both volunteers and clients from COVID-19. Pennsylvanians who have found themselves food insecure as a result of COVID-19 are eligible for state and federal food assistance. Find a pantry near you, then give them a call to make arrangements.
For a complete list of guidance documents and information as it relates to agriculture during COVID-19 mitigation in Pennsylvania visit agriculture.pa.gov/COVID. For the most accurate, timely information related to Health in Pennsylvania, visit on.pa.gov/coronavirus.