Pennsylvania Awards $2 Million to Fight Food Insecurity

Assorted varieties of vegetablesPhoto by Mark Stebnicki on Pexels.com

HARRISBURG, PA — On Friday, Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding announced the distribution of over $2.07 million to food banks, pantries, shelters, and soup kitchens across Pennsylvania through The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) Reach and Resiliency Grants. These grants align with the Shapiro Administration’s commitment to tackling hunger and improving access to healthy food for all Pennsylvanians.

“Pennsylvania enjoys an incredible bounty of natural resources and generous communities willing to help feed those in need,” Redding said. “Expanding the capacity of community organizations to supply fresh, healthy food to families in need is a key element of Shapiro Administration’s strategy to invest in a healthier, more secure Pennsylvania.”

The TEFAP Reach and Resiliency Grants are given to organizations distributing USDA Foods through state or county contracts. This latest round will fund projects such as mobile food pantries, expanded cold storage, warehouse space, and delivery vehicles. These investments aim to extend the reach of TEFAP into rural or underserved communities.

This marks the second wave of TEFAP grants. In September 2023, Pennsylvania awarded $1.6 million to 39 organizations working to reduce food insecurity. According to Feeding America’s Map the Meal Gap report, more than 1.5 million Pennsylvanians—11.9% of the population—did not know the source of their next meal in 2022.

One of the grant recipients, Schuylkill Community Action in Pottsville, serves a rural area with 19,400 residents, 13.4% of whom are food insecure. The nonprofit received $50,000 for a mobile food pantry to serve Latinx and other rural residents who lack access to grocery stores and fresh food.

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“This TEFAP Reach and Resiliency grant is a game-changer for our community,” said Schuylkill Community Action Executive Director Dave Young. “With the new box truck, we can extend our reach to rural and remote areas, ensuring that no one in Schuylkill County, including our growing Latinx community, has to struggle with food insecurity due to transportation barriers. This initiative is crucial for bridging the gap in access to nutritious food and improving the well-being of all our residents.”

Addressing Food Insecurity: Pennsylvania’s Strategic Grants Initiative

The implications of these grants are far-reaching. By enhancing local organizations’ abilities to distribute food, the state is addressing both immediate needs and systemic issues. Mobile food pantries and expanded storage facilities mean that more fresh, healthy food can reach isolated areas, helping to reduce the health disparities caused by poor nutrition.

Moreover, these grants symbolize a broader commitment from the state government to support its most vulnerable populations. As food insecurity remains a pressing issue, such initiatives are essential for building a more equitable and healthy society.

In summary, the TEFAP Reach and Resiliency Grants represent a significant step towards combating food insecurity in Pennsylvania. By funding projects that improve food access, the state aims to ensure that all residents, regardless of where they live, have the opportunity to lead healthier lives.

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