PA Ag Secretary Reminds Eligible Older Adults of June 30 Deadline to Sign up for Expanded Food Program
PA Agriculture Secretary Russell C. Redding today urged eligible older adults who are at risk of hunger to enroll before June 30 in an expanded program that can provide them with healthy foods.
Redding said the Commodity Supplemental Food Program, or CSFP, provides foods such as canned fruits and vegetables, non-fat dry and evaporated milk, juice, pasta, oats, peanut butter, poultry, canned meats and more, mostly to older adults and those eligible for, but not served by, the Women, Infants and Children Program.
To be eligible, a person must be 60 years of age or older and have a monthly income of 130 percent or less of the poverty level, which equals $1,179 or less. Another $405 in monthly income may be added for each additional person living in a household.
"Hunger is a challenge that we must all work together to solve," said Redding. "We know that no one group can solve hunger alone, so the combination of federal support like the Commodity Supplemental Food Program, the State Food Purchase Program and the outstanding efforts of our regional food banks are critical to ensuring no one in Pennsylvania wonders from where their next meal will come."
The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently provided Pennsylvania with an additional $1.2 million to expand its CSFP by more than 18,000 additional older adults a 125 percent increase.
Pennsylvania has the nation's fourth largest CSFP caseload, providing more than $19 million in food to older residents each month. With the additional participants, the program will serve 32,000 citizens.
Pennsylvania is also one of only five states with a budgetary line item dedicated to supporting the charitable food system.
"There are many partners in the fight against hunger, from our farmers to local food banks," noted Redding. "We appreciate all of their efforts and their good work, but the system cannot work if we are unable to reach those who are in need."
Redding has been visiting each region of the state to draw attention to the Commodity Supplemental Food Program's June 30 deadline for enrollment by older adults. He was in Montrose today distributing food boxes to eligible seniors and addressing the issue of hunger with social services personnel in the region.
The commonwealth continues to work aggressively to help those at-risk for hunger. Earlier this year, it distributed more than $2.7 million of cheddar and mozzarella cheese to local food pantries and food banks. The cheese distribution helped those in need as well as the state's dairy industry, which is the largest sector of Pennsylvania's agriculture economy.
Contact your local food bank for instructions on how to enroll in the CSFP. Contact information for local food banks is available at www.pafoodbanks.org by clicking on the "Need Assistance/Click Here" link.
For more information about the CSFP and other state efforts to combat hunger, visit www.agriculture.state.pa.us and search "Food Distribution."
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