HARRISBURG, PA — Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding wrote a letter to U.S. Division of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue pleading for his continuance of Pennsylvania’s waiver for the necessity to gather shopper names and addresses and confirm revenue eligibility for these receiving USDA Meals by way of The Emergency Meals Help Program (TEFAP) by way of the tip of the fiscal 12 months on September 30, 2020.
“While we are working to reopen Pennsylvania amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, we are one of just a handful of states reopening not experiencing a steady increase in our COVID cases,” stated Secretary Redding. “We must continue every effort possible to continue protecting Pennsylvanians, as they do their part to save lives. This waiver is one way to continue protecting Pennsylvanians by not requiring both volunteers and clients of food banks to break social distancing simply to complete forms.”
Redding’s letter outlines that older adults overwhelmingly comprise those that work in or volunteer with our state’s greater than 3,000 native meals help companies. These engaged on the entrance strains to feed these in want, are at a disproportionately increased threat for creating extra severe problems from COVID-19. The truth is, that if this waiver is dropped our consumption employees, volunteers, and purchasers will be unable to take care of a 6-foot social distance.
“While we have a responsibility to do everything in our power to protect Pennsylvanians and make it easy for them to social distance, we also have a responsibility to feed those in need,” added Redding.
As a direct results of COVID-19, Pennsylvania’s charitable meals system continues to expertise stress from unprecedented demand. A survey of Feeding American member meals banks in Pennsylvania revealed that they’re seeing a median improve in demand of greater than 50 % for the reason that pandemic started. In a state that usually serves roughly two million folks yearly by way of our emergency meals response in all 67 counties, knowledge collected for the reason that finish of March exhibits that Pennsylvania’s charitable meals system has served greater than 5.5 million folks in simply three months. Permitting Pennsylvania’s meals banks to forgo knowledge assortment for offering USDA Meals can assist to alleviate additional bottlenecks at meals distributions, the place strains are already lengthy.
“I’m hopeful that Secretary Perdue will acknowledge the importance of this waiver to Pennsylvania’s overall health and well-being, as he has done before when we were in need, and we’ll have swift response and approval,” stated Redding. “Throughout this pandemic, I continue to be grateful for our partners at the federal level who continue to support Pennsylvania’s work to combat COVID-19 and adjacent concerns, like hunger.”
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