Budget Holds Line on Pa.’s Two Most Important Anti-Hunger Programs, Provides Boost to SNAP
HARRISBURG, Pa. (March 7, 2022) --- Gov. Josh Shapiro’s 2023-24 General Fund budget holds the line on funding for two of the state’s most important anti-hunger programs, while trying to address the hunger cliff Pennsylvania faces with the recent elimination of pandemic-era emergency payments through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP.
Shapiro’s budget keeps funding level for the State Food Purchase Program (SFPP) and the Pennsylvania Agricultural Surplus System (PASS). The PASS appropriation of $4.5 million is fully included within the SFPP line item, which totals $24.688 million for both programs, within the Department of Agriculture’s budget. SFPP remains at $20.188 million.
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. 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.
The governor’s budget also includes a $16 million investment in SNAP, increasing the minimum benefit from $23 per month to $35 per month to address food insecurity among seniors and people with disabilities.
Pandemic-era emergency SNAP payments ended Feb. 28, meaning the state will receive $200 million less in federal food assistance benefits each month, impacting the lives of 1.9 million Pennsylvanians. Every household that receives SNAP will lose at least $95 in benefits per month. The loss of SNAP funding is compounded by the end of child tax credits that enabled families to buy food, the end of rules that allowed greater flexibility among major anti-hunger programs to target funding to those in need, the end of eviction moratoriums, and other supports that have terminated or changed.
“Everyone deserves affordable access to healthy and nutritious food. But in Pennsylvania, hunger remains an epidemic, with nearly 1 in 10 residents facing food insecurity. One in 8 children are food insecure. Hundreds of thousands of senior citizens qualify for the state’s meal delivery program but don’t get the food boxes,” said Sheila Christopher, Executive Director of Hunger-Free Pennsylvania.
“We look forward to working with the administration and General Assembly on both funding and policy solutions that will help our food banks continue to meet the growing demand among Pennsylvania families who struggle to put food on the table.”
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MEDIA CONTACTS: Sheila Christopher, Executive Director
P: 412-290-3045| E: email@example.com
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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.