Harrisburg, PA - Today, Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding issued guidance for accessing emergency food assistance for Pennsylvanians at risk of hunger due to measures to slow the spread of COVID-19.
“During this time of major precautions to reduce risks of spreading COVID-19, those out of work, those who rely on college meal plans, school meals to feed their children, and those who are isolated may not know where to turn for food,” Secretary Redding said. “No Pennsylvanian should go hungry, even in these extraordinary times.”
Redding offered these specific instructions for those seeking emergency food assistance.
Who is eligible to get food from a food bank or food pantry?
If you are out of work without pay, you are eligible to receive food sourced from the state and federal government from a food bank or food pantry in Pennsylvania. This includes service workers who are unable to get shifts or hourly wage employees of non-essential businesses that have voluntarily closed due to COVID-19 mitigation. You will be asked to verbally complete a Self-Declaration of Need form, as signatures have been temporarily waived due to COVID-19. (Forms are also available in Spanish and Russian.) You will be asked to provide your household size and weekly income level as of the day you apply. Complete income guidelines can be found at agriculture.pa.gov.
Will food banks be open?
Food banks are open and delivering food to many agencies, including pantries, shelters, and soup kitchens. Please call or visit the website of your regional food bank to be directed to agencies in your community. Many food banks are also doing special drive-through distributions. Please call for more information.
Where can I find a food bank or food pantry near me?
Contact the following Feeding Pennsylvania and Hunger-Free Pennsylvania member food banks to find out about food assistance services being offered in your county.
Alliance for Nonprofit Resources Inc. (serving Butler County)
Bucks County Opportunity Council Inc. (serving Bucks County)
Central Pennsylvania Food Bank (serving Adams, Bedford, Blair, Bradford, Centre, Clearfield, Clinton, Columbia, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Fulton, Huntingdon, Juniata, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lycoming, Mifflin, Montour, Northumberland, Perry Potter, Snyder, Sullivan, Tioga, Union and York counties)
Chester County Food Bank (serving Chester County)
Community Food Warehouse of Mercer County (serving Mercer County)
Fayette County Community Action Food Bank (serving Fayette County
Food for Families (serving Cambria County)
Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank (serving Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Cambria, Fayette, Greene, Indiana, Lawrence, Somerset and Washington counties)
Greater Washington County Food Bank (serving Washington County)
Helping Harvest (serving Berks and Schuylkill counties)
Indiana County Community Action Program (serving Indiana County)
Philabundance (serving Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties)
Second Harvest Food Bank of the Lehigh Valley and Northeast Pennsylvania (serving Carbon, Lehigh, Monroe, Northampton, Pike and Wayne counties)
Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest Pennsylvania (serving Cameron, Clarion, Clearfield, Crawford, Elk, Erie, Forest, Jefferson, McKean, Venango and Warren counties)
Share Food Program (serving Montgomery and Philadelphia Counties)
Weinberg Northeast Regional Food Bank (serving Lackawanna, Luzerne, Susquehanna and Wyoming counties)
Westmoreland County Food Bank (serving Westmoreland County)
York County Food Bank (serving York County)
How do I get food from a food bank if I can’t leave my house because I am under isolation or quarantine?
If you or a family member is under isolation or quarantine, contact your local food bank to see if they have options to deliver food. If you are concerned about potential exposure, there are steps you and food banks can take to limit risk. The PA Department of Agriculture sent guidance to all food banks encouraging them to follow best practices to limit risk of exposure.
What do I do if my local food pantry is closed?
You can go to another food pantry in your area, using the links above. We recommend checking with your local food bank to ensure other local food pantries are open.
How will students access meals while schools are closed?
The Pennsylvania Department of Education offers information on accessing meals on its website.
For information as it relates to agriculture during COVID-19 mitigation in Pennsylvania visit agriculture.pa.gov/COVID. For the most accurate, timely information related to Health in Pennsylvania, visit on.pa.gov/coronavirus.
MEDIA CONTACT: Shannon Powers - 717.603.2056
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