The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA) released a list of summer food assistance programs and summer options available for students, seniors, and caretakers.
According to Feeding America, 383,500 children, or 14.6% of children in Pennsylvania, face food shortages. The situation often becomes more difficult while students who participate in free or discounted lunch programs are away from school. Pennsylvania offers several programs to assist students during the summer months.
“No matter the time of year, we cannot grow young minds on empty stomachs,” said Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding. “School feeding programs ensure students have nutritious meals during the school year, but when the school year ends, summer options are available to both children and their caretakers. Food is a necessity we all deserve equal access to, but this is especially true for our youngest and most vulnerable populations.”
“At the Department of Education, we work tirelessly to ensure that students are healthy and cared for both in and out of the classroom,” said Education Secretary Eric Hagarty. “Fortunately, assistance is available no matter which city or town you call home, and at no cost to you. We encourage Pennsylvanians in need to take advantage of these critical resources throughout the summer months.”
Options for Pennsylvania caretakers and children experiencing food insecurity include:
- The Seamless Summer Option, which provides nutritious meals to children when school is not in session.
- The Summer Food Service Program for children participating in enrichment, recreational, or activity programs over the summer.
- Many food banks have backpack programs available during both the school year and summer months. Food banks and food pantries can be found using this map.
- The WIC and Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Programs which provide vouchers to qualifying individuals to be spent at participating farmers markets in the commonwealth.
- The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, known as SNAP, provides benefits to purchase food at grocery stores and supermarkets.
- The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) provides vouchers to be redeemed at grocery stores for specific food items.
- The Emergency Food Assistance and State Food Purchase programs, which recently expanded assistance eligibility for Pennsylvanians facing food insecurity.
Seniors and seniors taking care of children also may be eligible for the following:
- The Pennsylvania Senior Food Box Program, which provides eligible seniors with a monthly box of food to supplement regular groceries, the box can be delivered by DoorDash in select areasOpens In A New Window.
- Congregate and home-delivered meals available to Pennsylvanians 60 years of age or older. Meals are directly delivered to eligible individuals’ homes through County Area Agencies on Aging.
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