The average food price has skyrocketed due to corona virus pandemic and recent events. The FAO Food Price Index has saw a fresh record high of nearly 160 points.
A shocking 60% price increase over the 2014-2016 base period shows that hunger is a public health issue of critical importance.
The most vulnerable demographic of society is taking the brunt of this economic pressure. Now more than ever, low-income families must rely on Pennsylvania Free Clinics, Pennsylvania Food Stamps, and food banks.
This guide will list helpful information about food banks in Pennsylvania and organizations that can help curb hunger, how you can use their services and where to find them.
What is a Food Bank?
Food banks are non-profit charitable organizations that assist financially vulnerable populations by distributing food. Their main objectives is to help low-income individual and families by providing food.
They will work through other 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations like food pantries and soup kitchens. Sometimes they distribute the food themselves via mobile pantry.
Pennsylvania Food bank serves as a single collection and distribution point for food donations. They operate much like a for-profit food distributor, but they do not use retailers. Instead, they may use church food banks in Pennsylvania, charities, and other non-profit food pantries to provide food to the people to fight hunger.
Every state and many counties have multiple food banks, and soup kitchens. Most of them operate in large cities or areas with greater population density. Some services are mobile food trucks that deliver food to small towns and remote communities.
How the Food Bank Works?
- 1. Food is donated to a food bank.
- 2. Its stored in a big climate controlled warehouse.
- 3. Food Bank distributes food to various non-profits for distribution.
- 4. Food reaches to who are in need.
Who can use Food Banks?
Many food banks Pennsylvania are locally run, with others managed at the state or federal level. Qualification to receive nutrition assistance from food programs depends on the type.
There are different qualifying requirements, but many food banks have none. Just show up during their days and times of operation, and they will help if they are able.
Here are the tips while .
- It is highly advisable to call ahead before you arrive!
- Ask about any eligibility or documentation requirements they may have.
- If required, bring all required documents when you use their services.
Second Harvest Food Bank
Second Harvest Food Bank was the first one established in California in 1972 and is the second oldest in the US. It operates multiple distribution centers across the United States.
Impact of Second Harvest Food Bank is huge, It helps 85,000 Santa Cruz residents avoid missing meals and empty stomachs.
Second Harvest Food Bank in Pennsylvania is easing the burden of impossible choices for families between food, housing, medicine, and other necessities.
St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance
The St. Mary’s Food Bank was a first local food bank ever established in the United States in 1967. The St. Mary’s Food Bank mission is food security and hunger relief for all Americans.
The St. Mary’s distributes millions of pounds of food to the hungry each year, It also operates its own food pantries to allow allow people to access food directly from their warehouses.
It also offer specialized after-school programs for kids and career training for adults.
John van Hengel, the founder of St. Mary's Food Bank, went on to create a national organization for food banks. The Feeding America organization is a leader in the nation’s domestic hunger-relief efforts.
The Coronavirus epidemic put even more pressure on America’s most vulnerable citizens. Feeding America has helped serve 6.6 billion meals to date.
The Feeding America have grown through donations and other charitable efforts to be able to deliver much-needed food via food rescue, hunger relief programs, and disaster response.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a federally run program that helps obtain badly needed food for low-income people and families. SNAP program is also known as Food Stamp.
SNAP benefits in Pennsylvania supplied approximately 40 million Americans in 2018. It is the most extensive nutrition program administered by Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) and is a vital component of the social safety net for low-income Americans.
In 2017, roughly 9.2% of American households obtained SNAP benefits, with about 16.7% of all children living in homes benefiting.
The program had used paper "stamps" or coupons in the past – worth $1 (brown), $5 (blue), and $10 (green). These were bound into small booklets of various denominations, to be torn out individually and used in single-use exchanges.
Free Food Programs Summary
|Acronym||Name||For Moms & Kids||For Seniors||For Food Bank|
|SNAP||Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program||Yes||Yes||No|
|TEFAP||The Emergency Food Assistance Program||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|CSFP||The Commodity Supplemental Food Program||No||Yes||Yes|
|CACFP||The Child and Adult Care Food Program||Yes||Yes||No|
|NSLP||The National School Lunch Program||Yes||No||No|
|SBP||The School Breakfast Program||Yes||No||No|
|SFSP||The Summer Food Service Program||Yes||No||No|
|WIC||Women, Infants, and Children||Yes||No||No|
FAQ(Frequently Asked Questions)
1. What is the difference between a food bank and a food pantry?
Independent community food pantries are self-governing and usually distribute food to their clients on a once-a-month basis. A food bank is the storehouse for millions of pounds of food and other products that go out to the community. A food pantry functions as the arms that reach out to that community directly.
2. What kind of food is at a food Bank?
Specifically, Pennsylvania food banks often need items like:
- Peanut butter
- Canned soup
- Canned fruit
- Canned vegetables
- Canned beans
- Canned stew
- Canned fish
3. How do you qualify for Pennsylvania food bank assistance?
To qualify for food bank assistance you must provide:
- Current state-issued ID
- Social Security numbers of all household members
- Current electric bill to prove residence
- Bank Statement for income verification