Wolf Administration Addresses Food Security Efforts
As the pandemic continues, changing supply chains become strained
Across the country, food banks are running out of food, restaurants are closing, and grocery store products remain sparse. With growing concerns of food insecurity amidst COVID-19, Gov. Tom Wolf addressed the issue on Wednesday, April 29.
"As we seek to ensure health and safety for Pennsylvanians and work together to save lives as we mitigate against COVID-19, food has never seemed more important," Wolf said in a statement. "We depend on farmers to continue to work the land, processors to make products, grocery workers to be there at check out, and volunteers to support our food banks and pantries."
Prior to the stay-at-home orders, Wolf mentioned that Pennsylvanians ate about half of their meals outside the home, and now they are eating almost all of them inside. This is putting a strain on the supply chain that was not previously there.
To address this, Wolf and the Department of Agriculture have taken a number of actions, including keeping school meal programs running, allowing soup kitchens to have take-out options, working with farmers to open on-farm stands, and expediting the Food Recovery Grant program to assist non-profit organizations to have amenities such as freezers and refrigerators to allow them to keep perishable food items. Funding will also go toward the agricultural industry to take surplus food and get it to those organizations that can distribute it to the community and make sure no food goes to waste.
There are also actions being taken to ensure the safety and enhanced guidelines within the food industry in foodservice and distribution.
With many Pennsylvanians facing little to no income for the first time, Wolf emphasized that residents need to know what resources are available to them. In Erie County, these resources include the Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest Pennsylvania, the WIC Farmers' Market Nutrition Program, School Nutrition Programs, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and more.
For more information, see the full press release at governor.pa.gov.