The food pantry at Mary House is stocked with canned goods and paper products (Uniontown Herald-Standard photo)
Since the pandemic-era expansion of federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, ended on Feb. 28, the Shapiro administration has been trying to connect Pennsylvanians in need with resources to provide for themselves and their families.
“I’ve listened to your stories, and I’ve heard your concerns, and I’m directing my administration to do everything in our power to offer relief and help you and your family to put food on the table, stay safe, and stay healthy,” Shapiro said this week.
The expiration of the expanded federal benefit affects approximately 1.9 million people across the commonwealth, according to the Department of Human Services, which administers SNAP allocations in Pennsylvania.
On Monday, acting Human Services Secretary Val Arkoosh encouraged Pennsylvanians affected by the expiration of the emergency allotments to explore other state and local assistance programs.
“Everyone should know that resources are available from the state and from our heroic partners in the charitable food network to help offset this impact,” Arkoosh said in a statement. “You do not have to go through this change alone – please use these resources to protect yourself and your family.”
The Department of Aging is directing SNAP-eligible seniors to apply for the Department of Agriculture’s Senior Food Box Program, a supplemental nutritional support program, and the Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP), which provides vouchers to seniors who can redeem them for produce at select farmers’ markets across the commonwealth.
“A reduction in funds shouldn’t mean a reduction in access to good nutritional resources for our older adults. No one should have to choose between paying for medication, rent or mortgage, and food,” acting Secretary of Aging Jason Kavulich said in a statement on Tuesday.
The department said seniors affected by the expiration of the expanded benefits can reach out to their local Area Agency on Aging for additional resources.
“We want older Pennsylvanians to know that the Department of Aging and our aging network are here to assist them in getting the healthy foods necessary to age in place for as long as they are able,” Kavulich said.
Pennsylvanians in need of resources can call 211 or visit PA211.org to locate food resources in their area.
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