CSFP Road Show Warrants Standing Ovation
Since mid-June, the team at Hunger-Free Pennsylvania has been traveling the state and checking in on food banks that serve as the lead agencies for administering the federal Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) locally.
The visits happen at least once every two years as part of a Federal Regulation §247.34 – Management Review to ensure programs in these service areas meet requirements and objectives for CSFP, a centerpiece of efforts to improve the health of low-income elderly people by supplementing their diets with nutritious food packages.
The road show crisscrossed the state between June 17 and August 21 with stops in nearly every corner of the commonwealth. Here’s a look at the path:
June 17 – Indiana County Community Action Program in Indiana
June 24 – Food for Families in Cambria County
June 25 – Second Harvest Food Bank of the Lehigh Valley
June 26 – Greater Berks Food Bank in Reading
July 12 – Westmoreland County Food Bank
July 17 – Philabundance
July 18 – SHARE Food Program in Philadelphia
July 22 – Alliance for Nonprofit Resources in Butler
August 14 – Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank
August 21 – Community Food Warehouse of Mercer County
Each of the 10 food banks surveyed by HFPA Executive Director Sheila Christopher and Assistant Director Thomas Dubs passed inspection, which is good news for older residents who are hungry or food insecure. In Pennsylvania, 36,200 seniors utilize CSFP and more than 3,800 others are on the waiting list at any given time.
That’s why this year, the road show was about more than just ensuring compliance; it was also about showcasing this important program and making sure those in need know they can access aid through CSFP, a primary mission of Hunger-Free Pennsylvania, which is the state’s single largest provider of meals to older Pennsylvanians.
So while it was good news to find that all 10 food banks passed, it was even better to have news teams in tow at each spot to draw attention to CSFP. Representatives of Hunger-Free Pennsylvania and its partners did more than a dozen interviews in major media markets during the tour to raise awareness of CSFP.
Check out some of these headlines:
Anti-hunger initiative focuses on supplementing senior citizens' diets with food packages (Johnstown Tribune-Democrat, June 24, 2019)
Food for Families looking to help more people (WJAC-TV, June 24, 2019)
Hunger-Free PA Stops at Second Harvest Food Bank (WFMZ-TV 69, June 25, 2019)
Free food program for Berks County seniors underused (Reading Eagle, June 27, 2019)
Westmoreland food bank seeks to expand ‘senior food box’ program (The Tribune-Review, July 12, 2019)
Fighting Hunger in PA – Food for Seniors in Need (NBC 10, July 17, 2019)
Programs seek to feed hungry seniors (Butler Eagle, July 24, 2019)
Food Assistance Program Available for Elderly in Butler Co. (KDKA-TV 2, July 25, 2019)
Volunteers needed to help feed seniors in need in Mercer County (WFMJ-TV 21, Aug. 21, 2019)
Hunger-Free Pennsylvania raising awareness of Mercer County food bank for seniors (WKBN-27, August 21, 2019)
Food warehouse trying to help more people (Sharon Herald, Aug. 22, 2019)
The effort is already producing results. The majority of food banks report that seniors in need have been contacting their facilities, as have organizations and businesses that are willing to help get the food to low-income seniors.
And that is exactly what these stops were all about --- finding ways to support local programs in their fight against hunger and ensuring more people, especially seniors, in the community are taking advantage of a program that is open to them. The end result is more than worth any amount of miles traveled.