PFMA member Feeding Pennsylvania is the state association of nine Feeding America partner foods serving all 67 counties of the Commonwealth. There are 1.2 million people experiencing food insecurity in Pennsylvania—1 in 8 of them are children. Pennsylvania’s rural communities experience rates of food insecurity equal to or higher than our urban centers.
Feeding Pennsylvania food banks support neighbors in their communities by distributing more than 164 million pounds of food each year through a network of 2,700 food pantries and meal distribution services.
Healthy and nutritious food is necessary to survive and thrive. Still, many neighbors living and working in Pennsylvania communities must make difficult decisions to purchase food, pay rent, or afford medications. Feeding Pennsylvania’s network supports these families in bridging the gap.
How It’s Done
A single Feeding Pennsylvania food bank may serve as many as 70,000 neighbors per month. Delivering nourishing, protein-rich meals to these families depends on a complex infrastructure of government nutrition and agriculture programs and private partnerships, with operations largely reliant on retail donations of excess products.
Retail Donation & Rescue
Feeding Pennsylvania food banks rely heavily on donations from retail partners to round out their food sourcing. Retailers can help reduce food waste by partnering with Feeding PA food banks on their retail rescue initiatives. Products nearing their freshness date and many prepared foods can be donated to food banks and rapidly redistributed to neighbors in their communities. Last year alone (October – September), Feeding Pennsylvania food banks received nearly 76 million pounds of food through retail sourcing and donations. Many food bank partners like pantries and other meal service programs will handle retail rescue logistics by picking up products directly from grocers, big box stores, convenience stores and restaurants.
State-Funded Nutrition & Agriculture Surplus Programs
SFPP is a state-appropriated program that funds food banks to purchase fresh and shelf-stable foods directly from food manufacturers and brokers. These products are then distributed through partner pantries that distribute the food directly to neighbors in their communities. The Pennsylvania Agricultural Surplus Program (PASS) and Local Food Purchase Assistance (LFPA) are unique programs first intended to support Pennsylvania’s agricultural producers with excess commodities with an ancillary benefit to Pennsylvania’s charitable food network. Feeding Pennsylvania is contracted by the PA Department of Agriculture to administer these programs, which provide funds to PA food banks to purchase Pennsylvania-grown and produced agricultural commodities. Funds support the growing, processing, packaging and transporting of surplus commodities such as eggs, dairy, apples and more, which are purchased from producers and processors and distributed through Pennsylvania’s charitable
food network. Last year alone, Pennsylvania’s food banks sourced over 9 million pounds of food through these two programs.
The Mid-Atlantic Regional Cooperative (MARC)
A program of Feeding Pennsylvania, based at the Philadelphia Wholesale Produce Market, the MARC serves an expanded network of Feeding America partner food banks from Maine to Virginia, distributing more than 60 million pounds of food each year. The MARC sources surplus products from farmers, wholesalers, manufacturers, warehouses and importers and distributes them to regional food banks via tailored deliveries of five to ten different commodities per load—ensuring a dependable and efficient supply for food banks while enhancing the variety and value they can provide to neighbors. The MARC can solve your excess production and inventory problems while helping to get more healthy and nutritious foods into communities.
Too many Pennsylvanians experience hunger. Retail partnerships paired with state nutrition and agricultural programs allow Pennsylvania’s charitable food network to help millions of individuals experiencing food insecurity. These partnerships ensure a complete and balanced approach to feeding neighbors in our communities while reducing food waste and supporting Pennsylvania’s agricultural industry and bolstering economic impact in the Commonwealth and surrounding states.
If you want to support Pennsylvania’s charitable food network through any of these programs, please contact the food bank in your region or Feeding Pennsylvania to explore opportunities. Feedingpa.org.
What are your top three legislative priorities in 2024? My top four legislative priorities will always remain the same:
1. Create pro-growth policies to advance the economy of the Commonwealth.
2. Improve the financial management of the Commonwealth.
3. Improve the transparency of government.
4. Weed out and eliminate fraud, waste and abuse wherever it resides in state government.
What are the important issues facing your district? The top issues facing my district mirror Pennsylvania’s challenges: the economy and taxes. While York County is enjoying economic growth, the reality is inflation continues to slow progress.
What is your favorite vacation destination? I don’t have a favorite vacation destination per say, but we are a beach vacation family. Personally, I love traveling and immersing myself in local culture.
What are the biggest challenges for grocers in your district? The rising cost of doing business through inflation is a significant issue for my grocers. All businesses continually tell me they want to keep prices low, but with their low profit margins, they have no choice but to increase costs.
What are your biggest challenges and successes as a legislator? My biggest challenge as a legislator is how long it can take to make changes. I go to work with big ideas, but the process moves intentionally slowly. I am very proud of the changes I have been able to make in transparency for Pennsylvania, from the forming of the Government Oversight Committee to my work on the State Government and Appropriations Committees.
What is your favorite food or meal to cook? Grilling. It doesn’t matter what meat product and maybe some fruits and vegetables. Also, bacon.
What do you like to do for fun? Fun for me is taxiing and watching my kids at their various sporting events and being the fiscal watchdog for the House Republican Caucus.
What is your greatest success as a legislator over the past few years?
As the Majority Chairman of the House State Government last session, I had two important tasks: managing the post-2020 election and Congressional Redistricting.
After the 2020 election, we held ten hearings to determine how our elections operate and a review of the laws that govern them. Through these hearings, the committee developed a comprehensive solution that increased voter access, provided election security throughout the process, and updated a system predicated on a 1937 law. While Gov. Wolf vetoed the legislation without reading it, it offered the solutions we still need today.
For the first time in the history of the Commonwealth, the State Government Committee provided a public and transparent process for redistricting, leading to the adoption of a citizen-drawn map by the General Assembly. While Gov. Wolf vetoed this historic citizen-drawn congressional map, and the Pennsylvania Supreme Court selected a map drawn by a Democrat dark money group. The process created should be the standard process for all future Congressional Maps.
Now in its 27th year, PFMA is proud to accept applications for the 2024 Thomas R. and Laura Ridge Scholarship. Named for the parents of former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge, the Ridge Scholarship honors Thomas R. Ridge, who was a member of the food industry for 25 years, and his wife Laura, who was a great advocate of education for Tom Ridge, his brother David and sister Vikki. Over the years PFMA has awarded over $1.3 million to nearly 654 students since its start in 1995. Scholarship funds come from PFMA’s Education Trust and sponsoring PFMA members The GIANT Company, Karns Foods, Rutter’s, Sheetz and Wawa.
Eligible students can apply for a one-year, $2,500 scholarship for the 2024-2025 academic year. In 2023, 27 students earned a total of $67,500 towards their education and we look forward to awarding another 27 students in 2024. A panel of judges evaluates applications based on academic record, school and community involvement, a personal essay, and recommendations from school and work.
“This scholarship is for you and your employee’s families. We encourage you to share this opportunity with those who have college-age children and your young employees. We are honored to be able to award so many outstanding young people every year to pursue higher education.” Said Alex Baloga, PFMA president and CEO. “The generosity of our members allows us to support a growing number of students by easing the financial burden of pursuing higher education. Special thank you to The Giant Company, Karns Quality Foods, Rutter’s, Sheetz, and Wawa for their contributions.”
Current employees, their children, and the children of company owners who are PFMA members can apply for the scholarship at PFMA.org/scholarships. All scholarship applications must be made online. Applications are due no later than March 1, 2024.
We were saddened to hear the news of our former PFMA colleague and friend, Randy St. John, losing his long battle with cancer in late October. Randy served as Sr. Vice President of the Pennsylvania Food Merchants Association from 1989 to 2017. Spending many days at the State Capitol, he worked in Government Relations, edited publications, including the Food Industry Advisor, and helped organize conventions and member events. Building partnerships with Governors, legislative and executive staff, municipal officials, or PFMA teammates, Randy brought intellect, humor, and generosity to projects he managed, having fun in the process. Randy was a great friend and associate of PFMA and was the consummate professional in the industry for decades. Many of you will remember Randy for his great sense of humor, professionalism, and kindness.
We will miss him. Our entire organization and membership feel the loss of such a great leader in our industry.
We celebrate our membership growth and development every month by highlighting our new members. Membership growth is a major priority of PFMA to maintain a strong association. We enjoy welcoming these new retail and associate members who represent a variety of industries. Meet our newest members below:
Med Free Living provides highly trusted products formulated with all-natural ingredients to help target common health conditions. As a health and wellness company, they provide lifestyle information for conditions that may be controlled through proper diet and exercise. Med Free Living is dedicated to helping you live the life you want – naturally. Learn more at medfreeliving.com
Shelfmark is the DSD and prepared foods visibility platform. Access tools to enhance inventory management from forecasting through replenishment. Retailers. Learn more at shelfmark.co
Crop’s Fresh Marketplace is an authentic, third-generation, family-owned, and independent grocery store started in 1953 by Robert Cropper. Visit Crop’s Fresh Marketplace at 1257 Horseshoe Pike, Downingtown, and find great recipes online at cropsmarketplace.com
Phantom Fireworks is the leading retailer of consumer fireworks in the U.S. Phantom provides the widest range of consumer fireworks in all categories. Learn more at Fireworks.com
Old City Media, Inc. is an international marketing agency helping brands connect with target demographics through experiential marketing. This process is achieved through their robust network of clients and proven formula of brand integration. They also help companies leverage their assets to a brand looking for that all-important niche audience. With over 20 years of experience in this field, their team has the ability to bridge the gap while saving you time and money. Learn more at Oldcitymedia.com
Erica Logsdon, director of communications and public relations