Members of Hunger-Free Pennsylvania were in Harrisburg today to hand-deliver a letter signed by 1,240 hunger relief organizations, religious congregations, student groups, human service agencies and other charitable organizations calling for increased funding for the State Food Purchase Program (SFPP). (click here to read the letter) Nearly one in seven Pennsylvanians, or approximately 1.9 million residents, are struggling with hunger and food insecurity. Funding for SFPP, one of the commonwealth’s most important tools in the fight against hunger, has remained stagnant over the last several years --- the state’s 2013-14 budget allocated $17.438 million to SFPP, a drop of more than 7 percent since the onset of the recession in 2006, when the program received $18.75 million annually. In the letter, the groups commend Gov. Tom Corbett for not cutting SFPP during his term, but also note that the needs simply are growing too much, too fast --- especially now that benefit allocations expired Nov. 1 for the federally funded Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, commonly called “food stamps.” Filling those needs will fall to the state. The groups are seeking $21 million --- the mid-point between the current funding of $17,438,000 and the $24,583,600 that would be required for SFPP to match food cost inflation, rising demand and other factors over the years. We’re willing to do our part, but we’re all in this together, so we’re hopeful the governor will meet us half way. Making the trek to Harrisburg today were representatives of Central Pennsylvania Food Bank, Chester County Food Bank, Feeding Pennsylvania, Greater Berks Food Bank, Hunger-Free Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Hunger Action Center, Philabundance, Second Harvest Food Bank of Lehigh Valley & NE PA, SHARE Food Program and Westmoreland County Food Bank. Click here to read the release.
Click here to read the letter delivered to Gov. Corbett.