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
The new associate members represent beverage retail and software systems management.
Canada Dry Delaware Valley is a proud locally-owned and operated bottler and distributor of various leading beverage brands. For over 60 years, customers from southern New Jersey through southeastern Pennsylvania and into Delaware and Maryland have been served by Canada Dry Delaware Valley.
Flashfood is an app that allows shoppers to browse food items approaching their best before date, buy them at a discount and pick them up in store. Helping to create a better world for future generations, while creating affordable access to food to everyone.
Keurig Dr Pepper is a leading beverage company in North America and the first to bring hot and cold beverages together at scale. Keurig Dr Pepper has annual revenue in excess of $12 billion and approximately 27,000 employees. The company offers 125+ hot and cold beverages designed to satisfy virtually any consumer need, any time, and available everywhere people shop and consume beverages.
Through its Drink Well. Do Good. corporate responsibility platform, Keurig Dr Pepper is committed to sourcing, producing and distributing beverages responsibly, while ensuring it makes a positive impact on customers, employees, communities and the planet.
What are your top three legislative priorities in 2023? My top legislative priorities mirror what our Democratic caucus is pushing for, and that is better jobs, better schools and safer communities. There are so many ways to achieve these goals, and I look forward to working with my colleagues in the House, Senate and our new Gov. Josh Shapiro to make that happen.
What are the important issues facing your district? The three most important issues facing our district would be the quality of education, decreasing gun violence and home affordability.
Where do you shop locally for food? I shop at the Fresh Grocer on Grays Ferry Avenue in the Grays Ferry Shopping Center in my district, which is not far from my home.
What is your favorite vacation destination? It’s actually not a vacation destination, but a mode of vacation. I enjoy cruises. We could cruise to anywhere; I just enjoy the experience of going on a cruise.
What are the biggest challenges for grocers in your district? I think getting and maintaining quality products, like fresh fruits and vegetables, and doing so at an affordable cost has been a problem for grocers in my community in the past. I think additionally, like most industries, grocers also have a need to train and grow a workforce, particularly a workforce that looks like and reflects the community the grocery store is serving.
What are your biggest challenges and successes as a legislator? My biggest challenge has been not being able to always help everyone who needs help. Understanding that what I can do and what my office can do has limitations is difficult. While my heart wants to help and solve every problem, it’s hard to not always be able to accomplish that.
My biggest success has been the collective work of our caucus to be united and stick together over the last few years as well as the bipartisan success of our Clean Slate legislation and the fact that Pennsylvania’s Clean Slate law has become a national model that has led to second chances in numerous other states.
What is your favorite food or meal to cook? I make a really good parmesan chicken. It is by far my favorite meal to cook, but I also make an amazing seafood mac and cheese.
What do you like to do for fun? I’ve grown up loving and I continue to love music. A lot of people don’t know that I grew up playing the piano in my church. I have a love for music, both listening and playing in my free time. Additionally, I’ve found myself more and more interested in writing. Not for any particular purpose or genre, but just writing out my thoughts.
Organized crime used to be the stuff made for movies: drug trafficking, money laundering, trafficking firearms and smuggling goods.
Now, it’s a growing problem with basic, daily needs. Shoppers might be surprised to see more items locked down at stores or limited quantities available for items including laundry detergent, energy drinks, medicine and fresh meat.
Organized Retail Crime, or ORC, has been on the rise since the height of the pandemic. In 2021, a National Retail Security Survey reported that ORC was up more than 26 percent, equating to nearly $100 billion in losses.
Businesses are left brainstorming ways to keep their goods secure, employees safe and customers satisfied.
J.P. Frattone, director of asset protection and safety at The GIANT Company, said their stores experienced an increase in shoplifting and ORC since the pandemic. These issues are impacting a wider geographical area, Frattone said, with ORC offenders traveling across states and hitting multiple stores in the same market.
“Offenders are taking larger amounts each time,” he said. “At times, we are seeing the criminals become aggressive in the ways which they take goods and toward team members and customers. The same criminals are hitting multiple stores within the same area once they are in a particular market. In the past we would not see traveling crews of ORC activity in the suburbs, but now the crews are impacting those areas.”
Retailers expect a certain amount of shrink each year, but ORC is more than small theft. It carries with it different characteristics. Dawn Roller, director of loss prevention for Brown’s Shoprite Superstores, said offenders are bolder and more brazen. They disguise themselves to avoid facial recognition and can be armed. Frattone said thankfully their stores have not experienced violent behavior, but other retailers have seen increased aggression toward employees and customers.
“The bad actors are becoming bolder in their behavior,” he said.
So what changed? Roller surmises that many existing factors have bubbled to the top since the pandemic: the news cycle, poverty and education issues. Frattone adds that inflation, fewer law enforcement resources, prosecution thresholds and bail reform are impacting higher rates of crime.
The ways that criminals can pawn stolen items also has changed, making ORC easier. “Online marketplaces have been a growing channel as an outlet for retail theft,” he said. “Typically, we would see pawn shops and corner stores as an outlet; however, online marketplaces have grown as an outlet for retail theft.”
Lisa Dell’Alba, president and CEO of Square One Markets, Inc., and PFMA Board president, said a change or increase in in-store theft is less of a problem for their locations. They still experience petty theft and issues with health and beauty products or items like Advil and Tylenol.
For years, they were combating skimming. “What we see now is not an increase but a shift,” she said. “That shift has gone to people breaking sensors and trying to steal fuel again.”
At Square One locations, more people are attempting to steal and syphon gas. “We’re kind of back to some of the old school stuff, in a way,” Dell’Alba said.
Employees also have been targeted by gift card scammers. People have called store locations claiming to be Dell’Alba, asking the cashier to purchase $1,000 in gift cards and call back with the card numbers. These scammers are taking advantage of employees who typically work quiet, overnight shifts and don’t know Dell’Alba, the owner, well.
In grocery stores, ORC is targeting a wide variety of everyday items. Roller said laundry detergent, health and beauty products, fresh meat, seafood and baby formula are popular items. Frattone said their stores experience similar losses, noting that targeted items don’t vary by store location. A recent Business Insider article listed thieves most-wanted items, ranging from appliances to razors to housewares to pet medication.
And theft is one issue, but the effects of ORC are much broader.
“Certainly, this is an impact to everyone who shops and works in our stores. Beyond the potential impact to safety, ORC can also impact pricing, the availability of goods for our customers and the experience they have in stores,” Frattone said.
Retailers are now tasked with implementing new strategies and technology to combat ORC. Some stores are locking up popular items or putting fewer products on shelves. Others are holding special training for team members. Most have had to invest in new security and technology.
Roller trains her team to be observant and use good customer service. “Customer service is key. If you walk up to someone and ask, ‘Are you finding everything you’re looking for,’ they do not want to be identified. They will leave fast.”
But, she is quick to note, “Don’t be a hero.” Dell’Alba feels the same way. Report what you see, but stay safe. “I can replace a Snickers. I can’t replace a team member,” she said.
On the more technical side, Frattone said GIANT locations have implemented new technology that does not impact customers’ shopping experiences, but helps to keep team members safe. “We also implemented third-party security guards, police officers, anti-theft fixtures and mobile parking lot cameras in select locations,” he said.
In addition to increased training, Roller said their stores have implemented new cart technology and self-checkout intelligence that help to resolve ORC problems at checkout. Roller and Frattone also provide their teams with de-escalation training and resources.
Another beneficial tool is collaborating with other retailers and working through PFMA, said Roller and Dell’Alba. Building relationships and sharing information play a major role in combating ORC. Frattone added, “We can leverage resources and bring cases together, versus acting as singular entities. This will allow for a more successful outcome on taking down large criminal enterprises.”
Illicit trade and organized retail crime remain PFMA priorities. The association supports federal work on this issue and is encouraging Congress to pass the Inform Act, which aims to address the national issue of reselling illegally obtained goods online. PFMA also is working at the state and local levels on a multi-pronged approach to combatting the problem: strengthening partnerships between retail and law enforcement agencies and helping facilitate open lines of communication to ensure criminal activity is prosecuted in an intelligent and systematic fashion, and also pushing for policy reforms where gaps or deficiencies in current retail theft laws exist.
To assist with PFMA’s efforts, or to get involved in the association’s Loss Prevention Committee, email email@example.com.
What are your top three legislative priorities in 2022? Reforming the way we pay for our education system. In my district we are far too reliant on property taxes and do not get our fair share from Harrisburg through the funding formula. This needs to change. Our homeowners are hurting and our students are getting shortchanged. I am also looking forward to helping get statewide investment in a very successful First in Math Program to help students in K-8 improve their math skills. And while the clock ran out on this last round of redistricting, I remain committed to changing the system to ensure that the voters choose their legislators and not the politicians choosing their voters.
What are the important issues facing your district? The No. 1 issue facing my district is property taxes. Not a day goes by where I don’t get phone calls or emails asking about reforming the system.
We need to continue toward strengthening our supply chains and producing food products in Pennsylvania to help keep costs low for grocers and customers.
Where do you shop locally for food? I love farmers markets. When it comes to grocery stores, I usually go to Redners or Shop Rite. Both are well run stores with great employees and a great selection.
What is your favorite vacation destination? I love the beach. I love to swim in the ocean and relax in the sun.
What are the biggest challenges for grocers in your district? I think the two biggest challenges for grocers across Pennsylvania are the same: inflation and finding good quality employees. We need to continue toward strengthening our supply chains and producing food products in Pennsylvania to help keep costs low for grocers and customers. We also need to help our job creators invest in their employees, by pursuing policies that help them cut costs, so they can retain the dedicated staff representing our community grocers.
What are your biggest challenges and successes as a legislator? My biggest challenge has been trying to find a solution to the property tax issue in Pennsylvania that can move through the legislator and to the governor’s desk. I have had quite a few recent legislative success: my snow and ice bill requiring people to remove snow from trucks and vehicles became law this year, as did my bill to get Pennsylvania into the nursing compact. I also was prime sponsor of the legislation that brought us no excuse mail-in voting.
What is your favorite food or meal to cook? Tomato sauce with pork brasciole and meatballs.
What do you like to do for fun? In the summer, I enjoy swimming, being out in the sun relaxing. Over the winter, I am taking bowling in a league with my husband, Ed, which has turned out to be a lot of fun.
Erica Logsdon, director of communications and public relations