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  • Writer's pictureHunger-Free Pennsylvania

Food Banks Face 1-2 Punch

In a few weeks, Gov. Tom Corbett will unveil his proposed 2014-15 General Fund budget, which includes a line item for the State Food Purchase Program (SFPP), one of the commonwealth’s most important tools in the fight against hunger.

After reaching an appropriation of $18.75 million in the 2006-07 fiscal year, financial support for SFPP has declined to $17.4 million for the current fiscal year. At the same time, the number of Pennsylvanians who qualify for the program has spiked. More than 2.6 million residents are eligible for such assistance, according to the American Community Survey.

Everyone in the anti-hunger community will be watching the governor’s budget address with keen interest.

Food banks are overwhelmed --- and not just because demand has increased while state funding has declined. Our lines are longer because higher benefits under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, commonly called “food stamps,” expired in November. These added benefits were included in the 2009 federal stimulus bill to provide vital aid to families affected by the economic slowdown.

The benefits ended, but the need didn’t. More people are relying on their local food banks.

Now, we need to prepare for even greater demand as Congress prepares to cut billions of dollars more from the food stamp program, which is included in a farm bill that has yet to pass.

This one-two punch in state and federal funding cuts is undercutting our ability to serve those in need and overwhelming food banks that are finding it more and more difficult to provide for the growing masses that rely on their services.

To read an interesting story about the strains food banks across the nation face, and how the challenges could increase should additional funding cuts be made, visit:

New York Times

Food Banks Anticipate Impact of Cuts to Food Stamps

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