Casey Calls on Congress to Increase Emergency Assistance to Food Banks That Are Struggling to Keep Up with Demand

Congress Has Reached a Crucial Stage in Farm Bill Negotiations that Could Make Work of Food Banks More Difficult / Senator Casey Leads Senate Colleagues in Letter to Strengthen Partnership Between USDA, Food Banks / Food Aid Will Help Struggling Seniors and Children, Boost Economy / County-by-County Numbers Show Importance of Food Aid for PA Children

Casey Calls on Congress to Increase Emergency Assistance to Food Banks That Are Struggling to Keep Up with Demand

Washington, DC- With Thanksgiving approaching, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) called on Congress to increase emergency assistance to food banks that are already struggling to keep up with demand. Currently, Congress has entered a critical stage in farm bill negotiations that will feature significant decisions on food security programs such as the Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

“Food assistance programs like TEFAP and SNAP play a critical role in the battle against hunger for children, seniors and families across Pennsylvania and throughout our nation,” Senator Casey said. “In this time of economic recovery, there is an urgent need for food assistance.  Congress must work on a bipartisan basis to develop policies for ensuring that all Americans have access to safe, affordable, and nutritious foods.”

Casey’s effort encourages Congress to increase support for a program that allows the U.S. Department of Agriculture to aid food banks around the country so they can continue to serve residents in need. Joined by 25 additional Senators, Casey’s letter makes the case that failing to increase support for this program will negatively impact struggling children and seniors and cause harm to the economy.

With the support of TEFAP funding, food banks serve an integral role in combating hunger in the state. Feeding Pennsylvania food banks annually provide food assistance to more than 2 million low-income men, women, and children. Feeding America has said that following a 46 percent increase in demand during the recession, food banks are already struggling to meet need in their communities and will be unable to make up the difference.

Additionally, more than 1.7 million Pennsylvanians annually rely on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the nation’s single most important program in the fight against hunger. The House Farm Bill cuts SNAP by $39 billion, which would mean a loss of over 93 million meals in Pennsylvania in 2014 alone.

Almost 15 percent of Pennsylvanians experience food insecurity, and over 20 percent of children in Pennsylvania are food insecure (the household experienced a shortage of food). According to Feeding America, 35 percent of food insecure children are likely not eligible for SNAP or other income-based Federal nutrition programs.

Below are county-by-county numbers of child food insecurity in Pennsylvania, as well as the full text of Senator Casey’s letter:

 

Map the Meal Gap 2013       

Pennsylvania Child Food Insecurity by County in 20111

County

Food insecurity rate (full population)2

Population under 18 years old

Child food insecurity rate2

Estimated number food insecure children (rounded)

Food insecure children likely income-eligible for federal nutrition assistance3

Food insecure children likely NOT income-eligible for federal nutrition assistance3

Adams

9.8%

          22,750

16.7%

3,800

64%

36%

Allegheny

13.6%

       243,928

16.4%

40,110

63%

37%

Armstrong

11.9%

          14,373

20.6%

2,960

73%

27%

Beaver

12.1%

          35,170

18.7%

6,590

69%

31%

Bedford

12.6%

          10,864

21.3%

2,310

84%

16%

Berks

12.3%

          98,178

20.9%

20,530

64%

36%

Blair

12.1%

          27,069

20.1%

5,440

75%

25%

Bradford

10.9%

          14,354

19.6%

2,820

80%

20%

Bucks

9.7%

       144,695

14.1%

20,360

40%

60%

Butler

10.1%

          41,543

15.6%

6,490

52%

48%

Cambria

13.2%

          28,454

21.8%

6,210

73%

28%

Cameron

14.9%

            1,006

25.2%

250

84%

16%

Carbon

12.4%

          13,636

21.5%

2,940

69%

31%

Centre

13.8%

          24,357

16.0%

3,890

61%

39%

Chester

9.5%

       123,545

13.0%

16,020

39%

62%

Clarion

14.3%

            7,932

22.6%

1,790

77%

23%

Clearfield

12.9%

          16,967

22.9%

3,890

77%

23%

Clinton

13.1%

            8,078

20.4%

1,650

80%

20%

Columbia

13.2%

          12,608

19.5%

2,460

74%

26%

Crawford

12.9%

          20,065

22.4%

4,490

79%

21%

Cumberland

10.5%

          48,498

15.4%

7,450

52%

48%

Dauphin

14.4%

          62,018

17.9%

11,070

64%

36%

Delaware

13.7%

       130,631

14.9%

19,420

57%

43%

Elk

10.9%

            6,785

20.8%

1,410

83%

17%

Erie

14.0%

          64,102

21.0%

13,450

71%

29%

Fayette

14.9%

          28,201

26.1%

7,350

80%

20%

Forest

12.5%

            1,012

18.8%

190

95%

5%

Franklin

10.9%

          35,460

16.9%

5,990

65%

35%

Fulton

12.9%

            3,440

22.0%

760

76%

24%

Greene

12.4%

            7,679

21.2%

1,630

86%

14%

Huntingdon

13.1%

            9,162

20.4%

1,870

75%

25%

Indiana

13.7%

          16,903

20.3%

3,430

76%

24%

Jefferson

12.4%

            9,808

21.5%

2,110

81%

19%

Juniata

10.7%

            5,839

19.0%

1,110

89%

12%

Lackawanna

13.8%

          44,060

21.7%

9,550

69%

31%

Lancaster

11.2%

       128,997

17.8%

23,020

66%

35%

Lawrence

12.6%

          19,560

20.9%

4,080

72%

28%

Lebanon

10.5%

          30,623

18.2%

5,560

68%

32%

Lehigh

13.0%

          82,327

21.0%

17,280

64%

36%

Luzerne

14.0%

          64,807

22.6%

14,620

71%

30%

Lycoming

13.2%

          24,463

20.7%

5,060

75%

25%

McKean

13.2%

            9,328

22.0%

2,050

81%

19%

Mercer

13.1%

          25,418

20.3%

5,170

77%

23%

Mifflin

12.8%

          10,880

22.6%

2,460

85%

15%

Monroe

12.9%

          41,048

17.7%

7,250

65%

36%

Montgomery

10.5%

       182,938

12.9%

23,620

41%

59%

Montour

10.6%

            3,956

17.9%

710

81%

19%

Northampton

11.7%

          65,267

18.0%

11,730

55%

45%

Northumberland

13.3%

          19,241

22.4%

4,300

81%

19%

Perry

10.6%

          10,682

18.8%

2,010

71%

29%

Philadelphia

23.2%

       345,973

22.3%

77,300

65%

35%

Pike

12.0%

          13,625

18.9%

2,570

64%

36%

Potter

13.1%

            3,954

22.7%

900

88%

12%

Schuylkill

12.8%

          29,868

20.7%

6,190

70%

30%

Snyder

11.6%

            8,909

19.8%

1,760

77%

23%

Somerset

12.2%

          15,317

20.9%

3,200

88%

12%

Sullivan

10.6%

            1,062

19.0%

200

100%

0%

Susquehanna

11.2%

            9,322

19.6%

1,830

79%

22%

Tioga

11.9%

            8,711

20.9%

1,820

83%

17%

Union

12.4%

            8,271

18.8%

1,560

81%

19%

Venango

12.4%

          12,011

23.0%

2,760

74%

26%

Warren

11.1%

            8,775

19.8%

1,740

75%

26%

Washington

11.1%

          43,009

16.7%

7,200

60%

40%

Wayne

10.7%

          10,312

19.0%

1,960

83%

18%

Westmoreland

11.1%

          73,377

17.9%

13,100

63%

37%

Wyoming

12.5%

            6,213

21.6%

1,340

70%

30%

York

11.4%

       101,941

17.5%

17,800

59%

41%

State Total4

14.9%

    2,757,475

20.5%

559,120

65%

35%

For additional data and maps by county, state, and congressional district, please visit www.feedingamerica.org/mapthegap.

Gundersen, C., Waxman, E., Engelhard, E., Satoh, A., & Chawla, N. Map the Meal Gap: Child Food Insecurity 2013. This research is generously supported by the Howard G. Buffett Foundation and The Nielsen Company.

1Map the Meal Gap's child food insecurity rates are determined using data from the 2001-2011 Current Population Survey on children under 18 years old in food insecure households; data from the 2011 American Community Survey on median family incomes for households with children, child poverty rates, home ownership, and race and ethnic demographics among children; and 2011 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics on unemployment rates.

2 The statistical model for estimating food insecurity in 2013 differs slightly from the model used in 2012. The updated 2013 model includes "homeownership" in addition to the variables used in previous years to account for household assets and help produce more accurate estimates of food insecurity at the local level. For more information about these factors, please see the technical brief or supplemental methodology information on HungerNet.

3Numbers reflect percentage of food insecure children living in households with incomes above or below 185% of the federal poverty guideline for 2011. Eligibility for federal child nutrition programs is determined in part by  income thresholds which can vary by state.

4Data in the state totals row do not reflect the sum of all counties in that state. The state totals are aggregated from the congressional districts data in that state.

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