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Harrisburg, Pennsylvania – Department of Aging, Agriculture and Human Services leaders today joined Feeding Pennsylvania, Hunger Free PA, Just Harvest and other hunger fighters to talk about proposed investments in the Minimum Supplemental Food Assistance Program (SNAP) for seniors and people . with disabilities in Governor Tom Wolf’s 2022-23 Proposed Budget.

Governor Wolf intends to invest $14.3 million in state funds to increase the minimum monthly benefit from $20 a month to $35—an increase that will help the approximately 141,000 Pennsylvanians who currently receive the minimum benefit have a little more room in their budget to keep food on the table.

“As the nation continues to cope with the impact of an ongoing pandemic that has disproportionately affected older people and people with disabilities, access to basic necessities like food is more important than ever to help keep vulnerable populations healthy and mitigate the associated risks for health,” Human said. Services of Acting Secretary Meg Snead. “This investment is a recognition of the interconnectedness of our daily basic needs, the economic constraints that vulnerable people face in meeting those needs, and overall health and well-being. reducing demand for charitable food systems and, most importantly, helping people achieve the better quality of life they deserve.”

“It’s no secret that good nutrition and access to healthy food is critical for everyone, especially older people. With many seniors on a fixed income and the cost of everything, including food, rising, the additional SNAP support offered by Governor Wolf will help many Pennsylvanians through these difficult times,” said Secretary of Aging Robert Torres. “I encourage seniors who are struggling with their nutritional needs to contact their local aging agency or the Department of Senior Affairs and let us evaluate how we can help meet your nutritional needs or other issues that may affect on the quality of your food. life.”

SNAP is the most important and effective program to fight hunger in our country. SNAP helps more than 1.8 million Pennsylvanians with monthly food cash, helping families have the money to buy enough food to keep themselves from going hungry. These public health and wellness investments also support our local economy and food retailers, manufacturers, and small businesses in Pennsylvania. SNAP also complements the work of our charitable food network by compensating for how often a person may need help from the food bank or pantry. For every meal provided by Feeding Pennsylvania, SNAP provides nine.

“In an agriculturally rich state like Pennsylvania, no one should go hungry. That’s why at the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA), we’re committed to ongoing programs like the Farmers Market Nutrition Program and the Pennsylvania Agricultural Surplus System that help connect our food insecure neighbors with fresh, healthy food produced right here in the Commonwealth. “said Caryn Long Earl, director of the PDA Food Aid Bureau. “However, these products, along with the state and federal products and funds we provide to the Pennsylvania Charitable Food System, are only part of the solution. Ensuring that Pennsylvania seniors and people with disabilities have access to balanced nutrition is critical that we increase SNAP benefit levels for these people.”

“While our food banks strive to provide nutritious food to all Pennsylvanians facing hunger, our work is only part of what federal nutrition programs can do. For every meal our food banks provide, SNAP provides nine,” said Jane Clements, CEO Feeding Pennsylvania. “We are grateful to the Wolf Administration for offering funding that will support some of the most vulnerable Pennsylvanians in need of food assistance.”

SNAP is helping nearly 1 million seniors and people with disabilities get fresh, healthy food by complementing our charitable food network and investing in local grocery stores, small businesses and food manufacturers while helping vulnerable Pennsylvanians keep food on the table. While SNAP is a federal program funded primarily by the federal budget, eligibility and benefits are regulated by the states.

“I thank God for all I can get and $20 is a start but try to spend $20 these days with prices so high. Milk is $4, bread is $3, American cheese is $6.99, and a pound of sausage is $5.99. that’s all I can do for a month,” said Janet, a 70-year-old SNAP recipient from Pittsburgh, whose story was shared by Just Harvest. “The elderly deserve good food, just like the rest of the population. Please increase your minimum SNAP payments and help older people like me afford healthier food. $20 is not enough to really help with today’s prices.”

Inadequate nutrition and chronic nutritional deficiencies have a profound impact on a person’s life and health, including increased risk of chronic disease, higher chances of hospitalization, poorer overall health, and increased health care costs. According to Robert Wood Johnson FoundationThe number of older people who are food insecure more than doubled from 2001 to 2015, but SNAP participation has shown a decrease in hospital or nursing home stays.

In addition to helping keep food on the table and reducing ill health associated with inadequate access to food, SNAP helps the local economy. In May 2019, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) published the study on the impact of SNAP payments on the economy and employment at the county level before, during, and after the Great Recession. This study found that SNAP payments can have a stronger stimulus effect on the economy than many other forms of government spending per dollar spent because they are paid directly to low-income individuals, helping them meet their most basic, fundamental needs and investing in retailers and food manufacturers. more broadly. While SNAP is intended as a spin-off program, the pandemic, historic unemployment, and continued economic instability have depleted resources over the past two years, especially for the lowest-income Pennsylvanians. These investments will help older people and people with disabilities continue to meet this most basic need, which is essential for our quality of life and health.

“Each month, Lutheran parishioners of food stores and community canteens feed thousands of hungry families throughout the Commonwealth. Even in areas where employment has risen, many are finding that the need remains the same, with a growing percentage of older people seeking charity food,” said Rev. Angela Hammer. St Paul’s Lutheran Church in Penryn. “Those they serve are expressing their gratitude and reporting that they are worried about the fall — when they have to pay higher heating bills in addition to higher gas and food prices.”

Applications for the Supplemental Food Assistance Program (SNAP) and other social assistance programs can be submitted online at www.compass.state.pa.us or call 1-866-550-4355. Local County Help Office (CAO) services are available if customers are unable to access online services or require assistance that is not available through the COMPASS website, myCOMPASS PA mobile app, or by calling customer service centers at 215-560-7226 for customers in Philadelphia or 1-877. -395-8930 for customers in all other counties.

All Pennsylvanians experiencing financial hardship due to the pandemic, job loss, or income changes are strongly encouraged to apply and find out if they qualify for assistance with food, medical care, and other basic needs.

For more information on food assistance resources for Pennsylvanians affected by COVID-19 and economic instability, visit the Department of Agriculture website. food security guide.

CONTACT FOR THE MEDIA: Brandon Qualina, DHS – [email protected]
Jack Ailber, Aging [email protected]

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