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Advocacy Action Now: PA’s Government Fights Hunger, But More Can Be Done

Posted by Stefanie Arck on November 22nd, 2016

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has one budget line item which specifically aims to reduce hunger for the 1 in 7 Pennsylvanians who are food insecure. This budget line item includes two programs — the State Food Purchase Program (SFPP) and the Pennsylvania Agricultural Surplus System (PASS). This year, we are advocating for $21 million for SFPP and $5 million for PASS in the FY17-18 budget. While this may seem like a lot of money, it is a mere drop in the bucket that is Pennsylvania’s $31.5 billion budget. Learn more about these programs below, and then TAKE ACTION by signing a letter to Governor Wolf supporting this funding increase.

What is the State Food Purchase Program (SFPP)?

The State Food Purchase Program (SFPP) provides money to agencies across the state to purchase food from food banks, like Philabundance. These agencies, including food pantries and other charitable food programs, then distribute that food to people in need who meet certain income eligibility requirements. Many of our food pantries tell us that they wouldn’t be able to keep their doors open if it weren’t for this critical source of funding. We also hear that, at some pantries, demand is so high it is difficult to keep the shelves stocked, even with this funding.

Before the recession, SFPP was funded at $18.75 million. Due to increased food costs, to maintain level support today, the program would need to be funded at close to $22 million. Instead, in FY16-17, the program received $18.2 million.

What is the Pennsylvania Agricultural Surplus System (PASS)?

The Pennsylvania Agricultural Surplus System (PASS) provides money to food banks to purchase and distribute surplus agricultural products grown in Pennsylvania. This program was funded for the first time in FY15-16 at $1 million, and received the same amount in FY16-17. Food banks are able to purchase high-quality nutritious products from local farms, getting desirable food to people in need while simultaneously putting money straight back into the Pennsylvania economy. This year, Philabundance has purchased yogurt, broccoli, chicken, watermelon, butter, potatoes, and much more, all grown in Pennsylvania. This is a huge win-win for the Commonwealth, it’s a model program for the entire country, and with increased funding, even more could be done!

Sign the letter now.

 

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