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.
Erica Logsdon, director of communications and public relations