Ag. partnership with DoorDash delivers meals to Pa. seniors | Five for the Weekend

September is Hunger Action Month in Pennsylvania

By: - September 25, 2021 6:30 am

parcel box delivered to elderly person during epidemic lockdown isolation

Happy weekend, all.
A new initiative announced Thursday by state officials, is helping to get food in the hands of homebound seniors across the commonwealth.

Pennsylvania is now better able to supply Pennsylvania seniors with nutritious food, thanks to a new partnership with online food delivery platform, DoorDash. 

According to a statement shared by the state Department of Agriculture on Thursday, the partnership is “designed to remove barriers and increase enrollment in the underutilized Pennsylvania Senior Food Box Program.”

“This partnership with DoorDash to deliver Senior Food Boxes is a commonsense solution that will make saying ‘yes’ to the box easy. Accepting assistance can be hard enough for some, wondering how to get the food home should never be an added worry,” Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding said in that statement.

According to the Department of Agriculture, more than 300,000 senior citizens in Pennsylvania are eligible for the Pennsylvania Senior Food Box Program.

Earlier this month, a report from Feeding America found that 2 million Pennsylvanians experienced food insecurity in 2020.

“Hunger and food insecurity are serious problems in America and throughout Westmoreland County, especially among seniors,” Westmoreland Food Bank CEO Jennifer Miller said. “We’ve seen more people coming through our doors in recent years. This partnership with DoorDash helps us fill a void by getting food delivered to those who can’t make it here for help.”

The program is currently being offered in 10 counties across the state, including Bucks, Dauphin, Erie, Fayette, Luzerne, Montgomery, Philadelphia, Washington, Westmoreland and York counties. 

So far, the program has helped deliver more than 365 meals to seniors in southwestern Pennsylvania.

As always, the top 5 stories from this week are below.

House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff, R-Centre, speaks at a February 2021 press conference.

1. House Republicans punt on school masks vote after returning early to address it

Pennsylvania House Republicans promised they’d start an internal conversation Monday about how to best roll back Gov. Tom Wolf’s school mask mandate.

As some areas of Pennsylvania struggle with COVID-19 case spikes, House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff, R-Centre, said at a press conference that Republicans “believe that those school boards, in conjunction with their parents, should be making decisions that are best for them.”

But a little more than a day later, and the answer from the caucus was “let’s talk later,” as the chamber tabled nine similar but distinct amendments to create exemptions in or completely repeal Wolf’s order.

State Sen. Doug Mastriano, R-Adams.

2. Pa. Sen. Mastriano barred from attending private Senate GOP meetings

After spending weeks railing against the Pennsylvania Senate’s top Republican and the chamber’s GOP leadership, a state lawmaker has been barred from attending private meetings of his own party.

Sen. Doug Mastriano, R-Franklin, will no longer have access to the closed-door caucus meetings, Jason Thompson, a spokesperson for Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman, R-Centre, confirmed on Wednesday.

In these meetings, lawmakers discuss their positions on bills and legislative strategy in candid, private conversations.

State Sen. Anthony Williams, D-Philadelphia, speaks at a Sept. 15, 2021 Senate hearing to approve subpoenas for a legislative investigation of the 2020 election as panel chair Sen. Cris Dush, R-Jefferson, listens. (Capital-Star photo by Stephen Caruso)

3. To kick off election investigation, Pa. Senate GOP subpoenas voters’ social security numbers

With the 2021 general election now closer than 2020’s, Senate Republicans voted Wednesday to request identifying information on Pennsylvania’s roughly 9 million registered voters as part of a legislative investigation of former President Donald Trump’s loss.

The legal requests are the opening salvo in what could be a long, messy fight over the investigation, which was spurred by unverified claims of voter fraud that have been repeatedly rejected by federal judges, county elections officials, and even Trump’s former attorney general.

The 17 subpoenas were approved in a party-line vote by the Senate Intergovernmental Operations Committee, a seldom-used panel that Republican leadership has turned into a vehicle for conducting their investigation.

Joe Gale

4. Capital-Star Q+A: RINO hunter Joe Gale wants to make sure conservatives are energized for 2022

Joe Gale is a 32-year-old county commissioner in Montgomery County in suburban Philadelphia.

Gale, who lives in Plymouth Meeting, ran and won the minority seat on the commission in 2015, defeating the county’s Republican establishment, a bastion for moderation, as an unabashed conservative.

After an aborted run for Lieutenant Governor in 2018 — he was too young to hold statewide office — Gale is now running for the Republican nomination for governor. Though a magnet for controversy, he argues his uncompromising ideology and equal disdain for both party’s institutions make him the right man for the job.

Secretary of Corrections John Wetzel, right, discusses results of an internal review of parole cases that involved recent homicides or attempted homicides, as Deputy Secretary of Reentry Kelly Evans, left, and Chief Counsel Theron Perez, center, listen during a press conference in Mechanicsburg on Wednesday, August 28, 2019.

5. Pa.’s long-serving prisons chief, John E. Wetzel, is leaving, Wolf admin says

Pennsylvania Corrections Secretary John E. Wetzel, whose career spanned Republican and Democratic administrations, will leave his post on Oct. 1, Gov. Tom Wolf’s office said Monday.

Wetzel, whose work to reform the state’s sprawling and expensive prison system, won him plaudits, told the Capital-Star that he plans to open a criminal justice nonprofit in February.

“I’m super excited,” Wetzel told the Capital-Star on Monday. “Government is not where change is at right now — for real. I’m in the change business.”

Wetzel thanked Wolf for the “honor and opportunity of a lifetime,” and added that he’s leaving “the best team in the business to the right person for the job, and I’m grateful for that. It’s been an honor to serve Pennsylvania.”

And that’s the week. See you back here next weekend. 

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Cassie Miller
Cassie Miller

A native Pennsylvanian, Cassie Miller worked for various publications across the Midstate before joining the team at the Pennsylvania Capital-Star. In her previous roles, she has covered everything from local sports to the financial services industry.