Washington, D.C. – Yesterday the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced their approval of the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture’s (PDA) request to operate a Disaster Household Distribution program in each of the Commonwealth’s 67 counties, after Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) sent a letter to Secretary Perdue in support of PDA’s request, in coordination with the Wolf Administration. This program will allow food banks to provide vital food assistance to all Pennsylvanians who are experiencing significant economic challenges due to the spread of COVID-19 by reducing administrative hurdles they would otherwise face.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has created and worsened many health and economic challenges for Pennsylvania families, including food insecurity,” said Senator Casey. “I wrote a letter to Secretary Perdue in support of PDA’s request so that the Bureau of Food Assistance can serve all of our families who need help, including an influx of children, older adults and displaced workers. In my bill, the Food Assistance for Kids and Families during COVID-19 Act, I called for this authority to be provided nationwide in order to streamline paperwork requirements to reduce contact and accelerate the process of helping individuals and families in need of food assistance. As Congress considers further COVID-19 relief legislation, I will continue to fight to make food assistance a national priority.”
USDA’s approval of the request will allow PDA and its partners to more efficiently distribute foods to those most affected by the public health crisis. In these unprecedented times, PDA requires additional flexibilities to not only meet this augmented need, but to protect the health and safety of staff, volunteers and individuals seeking assistance. The Disaster Household Feeding Program will give PDA the funding and the flexibility to serve all Pennsylvanians who walk through a food bank’s doors.
A copy of the letter can be found here.