Serving roughly 200,000 Pennsylvanians per month, the Central Pa. Food Bank is seeing a 10% increase in demand compared to this time last year.
Author: Chelsea Johnson
Published: 7:57 PM EDT June 13, 2022
Updated: 10:13 PM EDT June 13, 2022
HARRISBURG, Pa. — The cost of food is rising and so is the demand to feed families in Pennsylvania.
"People who perhaps were getting by just fine maybe a year ago are finding a real squeeze in trying to pay their bills and buy groceries," said Amy Hill with the Central Pa. Food Bank.
The Central Pa. Food Bank serves about 200,000 Pennsylvanians every month. Hill says they're seeing a 10 percent increase in demand compared to this time last year.
"So far, we've been able to meet this increased demand, but it certainly put a stretch on our own budgets," Hill explained.
Inflation is also playing a huge role on the state's charitable food network, Hunger-Free Pennsylvania.
"It's like one punch after the other. It's not just the cost of the food, it's the availability of food," said Sheila Christopher, Executive Director for Hunger-Free Pennsylvania.
To combat this, Christopher is asking for a $3 million state funding increase to the State Food Purchase Program. This program provides cash grants to counties to provide food for low-income families.
Currently, Gov. Tom Wolf has $20.1 million allocated for this program in the proposed 2022-23 general fund budget.
"We're not asking for more money to buy more food to serve more people," Christopher said. "We're just trying to maintain the service that we're currently doing."
The Central Pa. Food Bank is supporting Hunger-Free Pennsylvania in this call to the state legislature.
"We are able to use the State Food Purchase Program to help fill in the gaps where maybe we don't get donations or we can augment something that's coming from another government program," Hill explained.