September is Hunger Action Month and the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) is drawing awareness to the charitable food organizations that work tirelessly to fill the hunger gaps in our communities that the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) cannot do on its own. Food insecurity is at an all time high in Pennsylvania. In 2020, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, Feeding America estimates the number of Pennsylvanians facing food insecurity will grow to 15.9 percent – an increase of 45.2 percent in just two years.
DHS administers SNAP, the nation’s most important anti-hunger program. SNAP helps more than 1.8 million Pennsylvanians expand their purchasing power and put food on their tables. On average, children whose families utilize SNAP are healthier than kids whose families qualify for SNAP but are not enrolled in the program. These kids go on to have higher graduation rates, increased earnings in adulthood, and improved health outcomes throughout their life. Older adults who are enrolled in SNAP are healthier, hospitalized less often, and are less likely to go into a nursing home. More than 1.8 million people use SNAP, but SNAP’s positive impact has an even broader reach. The food bought from local grocery stores and farmers markets supports our local economies to the tune of over $25 billion respectively.
Feeding Pennsylvania oversees member food banks which serve nearly 2 million people annually by distributing more than 164 million pounds of food throughout Pennsylvania to more than 2,700 agencies and feeding programs.
On average, Feeding Pennsylvania’s food banks serve nearly 2.2 million Pennsylvanians annually. During the first three months of their COVID-19 response, these food banks have had 5.5 million visitors.
Organizations like Feeding Pennsylvania rely on support to operate and help those in need. You can find out how you can support their mission on the Feeding Pennsylvania website.
Find Food Assistance
Pennsylvanians can get help with food costs through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP.) If you’re new to the program, applying is easy and can be done online via COMPASS.
If you are in need of local food resources, Feeding Pennsylvania has a Find Assistance page that can connect you to help.
For a list of local food banks and pantries visit Ending Hunger in PA.