– See more at: http://www.elca.org/Our-Work/Relief-and-Development/ELCA-World-Hunger/Our-Approach#sthash.lZiHFEq1.dpuf
For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me. – Matthew 25:35
In 2022, LAMPa is advocating for several measures to help those struggling with hunger. Click the links below to write in support of these essential programs, and learn more about them below.
- Increased funding for SFPP and PASS
- Increased benefits for SNAP recipients
Food Insecurity in Pennsylvania – Statistics
Findings published in 2022 by Feeding America show a startling depiction of hunger in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Across the state, 1,353,730 people are facing hunger, and of them 383,520 are children. That’s 1 in 9 people, and 1 in 7 children. The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture painted a similarly bleak portrait of hunger, citing from Feeding America’s “Map the Meal Gap” report that during the 2020 year of the Covid-19 pandemic the number of people facing food insecurity in Pennsylvania grew from 1.35 million to 1.77 million. In 2021 that number was projected to drop to 1.54 million, thanks to policies implemented at the local, state, and federal levels of government.
What is it that has made hunger such a prevalent problem in Pennsylvania, impacting 12% of the adult population and 16.8% of the child population? The commonwealth cities these primary reasons:
- Covid-19 pandemic
- Lack of awareness of existing resources
- Difficulty finding resource information
- Existing benefit shortcomings
- Job loss
- Lack of access to transportation
- Supply chain challenges
- Socioeconomic status
To address this requires government investment into hunger programs. The total monetary need to feed all those facing food insecurity in Pennsylvania is $733,806,000 per annum, as the average cost of a meal is $3.17. A major way in which these meals are provides is via the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). 33.9% of households receiving SNAP have children, so this program contributes to addressing childhood food insecurity. SNAP also has economic benefits. The $2,513,696,584 distributed through SNAP generated $4,273,284,193 in economic activity. That’s $1.70 in economic activity for every SNAP dollar spent.
Support Existing Programs
Charitable food networks began to see a levelling in demand from pandemic highs at the end of 2021. But now, with increasing inflation and uncertainty about the future, many are still turning to food banks for assistance. And while the outpouring of financial support from our communities has been tremendous, programs like the State Food Purchase Program (SFPP) and Pennsylvania Agricultural Surplus System (PASS) help fill in the gaps with healthy, locally grown products. This supports Pennsylvania farmers and businesses as well as the Pennsylvania charitable food system.
SNAP, too, is in need of increased funding to support the many people who are struggling with hunger. While SNAP is federally funded, Governor Wolf has proposed utilizing $14.333 million in state dollars to increase the minimum SNAP benefit for households with elderly or disabled members by $15 per month. This would bring the federally funded minimum benefit of $20 per month up to $35 per month. We hope to see this proposal included in the final FY22-23 state budget passed by the General Assembly. View this SNAP-Increase-Fact-Sheet for more details.
Read the Briefing Paper on Hunger in Pennsylvania prepared by LAMPa and other hunger organizations for the Governor Wolf Transition Team in 2015.