Hunger-Free Pennsylvania 2022/23 Pa. Budget Statement
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Despite Rising Food Prices, Sustained Demand Straining Food Banks, Record State Surpluses, Pa. Budget Flat Funds SFPP Funding
Spending plan includes $2 million increase for PASS
HARRISBURG, Pa. (July 11, 2022) --- Despite rising food prices and a continued increase in demand that is straining the state’s charitable food network, the commonwealth’s 2022-23 General Fund budget holds the line on funding for the State Food Purchase Program (SFPP), one of the state’s most important anti-hunger programs.
The spending plan --- which was passed by the General Assembly and signed into law by the governor on July 8, one week after the official start of the new fiscal year --- includes a $2 million increase for the Pennsylvania Agricultural Surplus System (PASS).
The increase takes PASS from $2.5 million to $4.5 million. SFPP remains at $20.188 million. The PASS appropriation is included within the SFPP line item, which totals $24.688 million for both programs within the Department of Agriculture’s budget. Hunger-Free Pennsylvania was seeking $24 million for SFPP and $5 million for PASS in the state’s 2022-23 fiscal year budget.
“We appreciate the partnership we have with the state. They made sure we had the resources we needed during the pandemic. But we cannot go back to pre-pandemic levels because the strains on our food banks have not gone away. In fact, they continue to increase. The demand for assistance is still high, while new challenges like rising food and fuel prices make our daily workload all the more demanding,” according to Sheila Christopher, Executive Director of Hunger-Free Pennsylvania. “We will continue to do everything we can to make sure everyone who needs a meal gets one.”
Christopher noted that the flat funding for SFPP came at a time when the state reported record revenue surpluses, much of which went unspent in the final 2022-23 budget.
SFPP remains a lifeline for food banks across Pennsylvania, helping all 67 counties purchase and distribute food to low-income families and seniors. SFPP also helps food banks access federal food commodities and finance transportation and infrastructure improvements. When food prices rise, SFPP funding doesn’t go as far, and that’s troubling since demand keeps rising.
Pennsylvania’s agriculture sector, farm communities, and food insecure residents all benefit from PASS, which redirects millions of pounds of Pennsylvania-grown agricultural products that might otherwise go to waste to organizations that provide nutritious meals.
* * * * *
MEDIA CONTACTS: Sheila Christopher, Executive Director
P: 412-290-3045| E: firstname.lastname@example.org
* * * * *
About Hunger-Free Pennsylvania:
Hunger-Free Pennsylvania comprises a network of food banks, food pantries, soup kitchens, homeless shelters, charities and other hunger relief organizations working together to end hunger in Pennsylvania. The network has 18 members serving all 67 counties. Learn more about Hunger-Free Pennsylvania online: www.hungerfreepa.org, or via Facebook: www.facebook.com/HungerFreePA.