According to Feeding America, in Pennsylvania

  • Over 1.6 million people struggle with hunger and over 482,000 are children.
  • Briefly, 1 in 8 people struggles with hunger; 1 in 6 children struggles with hunger.
  • People facing hunger are estimated to report needing over $880 million more to meet their food needs.
  • The average meal cost is $2.93
  • $2.7 million distributed through SNAP generated $4.6 million in economic activity.

Food banks and pantries across the Commonwealth work hard to reduce hunger and food insecurity by ensuring access to healthy, nutritious meals.

Initiatives include:

WIC FARMERS’ MARKET NUTRITION PROGRAM (FMNP)The special supplemental nutrition program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) established the WIC Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) to expand the awareness, use of, and sales at farmers’ markets. FMNP was specifically designed to provide fresh, unprepared, locally grown fruits and vegetables to WIC participants by partnering with local markets and stands. Learn more about the WIC Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program

SCHOOL NUTRITION PROGRAMS
Free school meals (breakfast/lunch) are available for children from families receiving food stamp benefits or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), and children from families with incomes at or below 130% of the poverty level. Reduced price school meals are available for children from families whose incomes are between 130% and 185% of the poverty level. Learn more about School Nutrition Programs.  

SENIOR FARMERS’ MARKET NUTRITION PROGRAM (SFMNP)
This program provides eligible low-income seniors with coupons that can be exchanged for qualified foods. Recipients are given a list of participating farmers and farmers’ markets when they receive their vouchers. These vouchers are redeemed for fresh fruits and vegetables grown in Pennsylvania. Each eligible recipient receives four $5.00 SFMNP vouchers to redeem at a qualified farmers’ markets or roadside stands. There are over 1,150 SFMNP participating farmers at 828 farm stands and 202 farmers’ markets in PA. Learn more about the Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program

THE EMERGENCY FOOD ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (TEFAP)
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) makes commodity foods available to State Distributing Agencies. The state agencies then provide the food to local organizations that directly serve the public (food banks, food pantries, soup kitchens, etc.). These local organizations distribute the food to eligible recipients for household consumption, or use them to prepare and serve meals in a congregate setting. Learn more about The Emergency Food Assistance Program

COMMODITY SUPPLEMENTAL FOOD PROGRAM (CSFP)
The population served by CSFP is similar to that served by USDA’s Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), but CSFP also serves the elderly, and provides food packages rather than the food vouchers that WIC participants receive. Those who are eligible cannot participate in both programs at the same time.CSFP food packages do not provide a complete diet, but rather are good sources of the nutrients typically lacking in the diets of the target population. Food packages include infant formula and cereal, non-fat dry and evaporated milk, juice, oats, pasta, peanut butter, canned meat, tuna, or poultry, and canned fruits and vegetables. Learn more about Commodity Supplemental Food Program

MEDICAL ASSISTANCE (MA)
Medical Assistance, also known as Medicaid or HealthChoices (in PA) pays for health care services for eligible individuals. Learn more about eligibility and apply for Medical Assistance

STATE FOOD PURCHASE PROGRAM (SFPP)
Pennsylvania leads the country in providing food assistance for the needy under the SFPP. This program provides cash grants to counties for the purchase and distribution of food to low income individuals. Learn more about the State Food Purchase ProgramSUPPLEMENTAL NUTRITION ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (SNAP)
This is the new name for the Food Stamp program. These benefits are used to buy food and help eligible low-income households in Pennsylvania obtain more nutritious diets by increasing their food purchasing power at grocery stores and supermarkets. If you are eligible, you will receive a debit card called an ACCESS Card. You can use this card to buy food at grocery stores, supermarkets and other stores that accept them. Learn more about the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION PROGRAM (UC)
The Unemployment Compensation (UC) program provides temporary income support if you lose your job through no fault of your own or if you are working less than your full-time hours. If you qualify, you will receive money for a limited time to help you meet expenses while you seek new employment. Learn more about the Unemployment Compensation Program

CONGREGATE AND HOME DELIVERED MEALS 
These programs provide nutritious meals to individuals age 60 or older, and their spouses, free of charge. Meals can be delivered directly to eligible individuals’ homes. Learn more about Congregate and Home Delivered Meals by calling your County Area Agency on Aging

TEMPORARY ASSISTANCE FOR NEEDY FAMILIES (TANF)
Also referred to as cash assistance, TANF provides cash assistance to pregnant women and dependent children and their parents or relatives who live with and care for them. Learn more about Temporary Assistance for Needy Families

SPECIAL SUPPLEMENTAL NUTRITION PROGRAM FOR WOMEN, INFANTS, AND CHILDREN (WIC)
The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) provides nutrition education, breastfeeding instructions, and counseling at WIC clinics. To support healthy eating, participants are given vouchers they can redeem at grocery stores for specific food items. Learn more about Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)

DISASTER FEEDING OPERATIONSDo you know the roles of organizations if/when disaster strikes? Learn more about Emergency Support Functions and Disaster feeding operations.

Grant Programs

USDA FARM TO SCHOOL GRANT PROGRAMEach year, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) awards grants to help connect students to the sources of their food through education, taste tests, school gardens, field trips, and local food sourcing for school meals. Read the Farm to School fact sheet to learn more. Apply for FY 18 Farm to School Grant

FOOD INSECURITY NUTRITION INCENTIVE (FINI) GRANT PROGRAM
The Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) Grant Program supports projects to increase the purchase of fruits and vegetables among low-income consumers participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) by providing incentives at the point of purchase. Apply for FY 18 FINI Grant.