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​Food Security in Pennsylvania

COVID-19 has turned Pennsylvania upside down and forced thousands out of jobs as we continue to flatten the curve of cases, but we are not willing to accept hunger as our next pandemic. 

The commonwealth’s strong agricultural heritage and robust industries, alongside its dedication to providing interventions and support to those in need, create a strong foundation for ensuring food security across the commonwealth.

As is the case across the country, the agriculture industry, food processors and manufacturers, grocery store workers, caseworkers, food bank staff and volunteers are among the many heroes working on the frontlines to keep states, the nation, and the world fed, despite great risk, stress, and uncertainty. Pennsylvania is no different.

With many restaurants temporarily shuttered or offering limited take-out services, empty schools, processing plants suspending operations, reports of empty grocery store shelves, and more residents in need putting a strain on the charitable food network, more people than ever are becoming aware of where their food comes from and the complexities of the system.

Before COVID-19, about 50 percent of food consumption took place in the home. Now, it’s nearly 100 percent. Even though the supply chain has been flipped upside down, Pennsylvania’s food system will recover. It is strong and resilient; it just needs time to respond to the sudden shift from food service to retail. 

Ensuring Pennsylvanians have equitable access to the food they need is only one piece of the puzzle. To truly address hunger during this difficult, unprecedented time, it takes innovative collaboration between private, public, and nonprofit sectors to ensure the availability and awareness of interventions and wrap-around services to support low-income families. 

The Wolf Administration is doing everything it can to ensure that everyone’s food security needs in the commonwealth are met during this pandemic, a feat that would not be possible without the selfless and unwavering efforts of Pennsylvania’s statewide network of charitable food providers.

These times will pass; but in the meantime, Pennsylvanians can find confidence in knowing that we are working diligently to ensure that all people have access to the food they need.