Food distribution program extended for Pennsylvanians impacted by COVID-19


Bureau of Food Assistance is expected to more than $80 million of USDA foods through the state in 2020

Food distribution, Covid, food drive

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WKBN) – The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture received approval to extend its Disaster Household Distribution program, allowing the state to provide food for Pennsylvanians impacted by the coronavirus pandemic through June 25.

“While we’re working to safely reopen Pennsylvania, many are still out of work and in need of the food security this program offers,” said Secretary Redding. “This extension lifts a weight off the shoulders of families across the commonwealth, giving assurance that food is always accessible.”

Pennsylvanians who need food can show up at the designated food bank or pantry and get it without having to verify financial eligibility.

The waiver also allows the Department of Agriculture and its partners to distribute USDA foods, including meats, vegetables, fruits, canned goods, cereal, rice, pasta, eggs and milk.

The department estimates that the Bureau of Food Assistance will move more than $80 million of USDA foods through the state’s charitable food system this year.

In 2019, about $50 million was allocated to the purchase of USDA foods.

This increase comes through Families First Coronavirus Response Act and the CARES Act, as well as an increase in funding through continued trade mitigation efforts by USDA.

“We know that reopening Pennsylvania will take time, and as families start to rebuild their lives and hopefully return to work, we also know that many will continue to need the support of the charitable food network to get them through this transition,” said Jane Clements-Smith, executive director of Feeding Pennsylvania.  “We are grateful for the USDA’s commitment to helping us deliver food efficiently and supporting our efforts through innovative programs that not only support families with nutritious food, but also support our farmers and processors.” 

Pennsylvanians can also access fresh, local foods through the Farmers to Families Food Box program. Those interested in receiving a box through should contact their local food bank for distribution information.

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