Pennsylvania Agricultural Surplus System Rolls Out; Central Pennsylvania Food Bank Will Coordinate Charitable Food System Efforts
HARRISBURG, PA – Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding announced yesterday the implementation of the Pennsylvania Agricultural Surplus System, known as PASS, throughout all 67 counties in the Commonwealth. This innovative program will put healthy and nutritious food grown by Pennsylvania farmers and crafted by Pennsylvania food producers into the charitable food system. PASS will make available $1 million of funding that was included in the final state 2015-16 Budget. This announcement was hosted by the Pennsylvania State Council of Farm Organizations and was the capstone celebration at its annual Cornucopia Day event at the Capitol.
Secretary Redding also announced that Central Pennsylvania Food Bank was selected as the winning bidder to implement PASS as a result of a competitive request for proposal process. Central Pennsylvania Food Bank will work with member organizations of the state anti-hunger associations Feeding Pennsylvania and Hunger Free Pennsylvania to serve all 67 counties of Pennsylvania. These associations and their member organizations work with over 3,000 individual charitable organizations throughout the Commonwealth, underscoring the scope of food insecurity in our state and our nation.
Addressing the importance of PASS, Secretary Redding said, “Hunger impacts every county in Pennsylvania. We have an estimated 1.8 million Pennsylvanians who struggle with where their next meal is coming from, and nearly 600,000 of those people are children. In a state with an agricultural industry as robust as we have here in Pennsylvania, that is simply unacceptable. There is healthy and nutritious food available in the fields that never makes it into the food supply, and we want to see it put onto the plates of people who need it.”
Following the PASS announcement, Joe Arthur, Executive Director of Central Pennsylvania Food Bank said, “I would like to thank the General Assembly and Governor Wolf for establishing this innovative PASS program, and Secretary Redding and his Department for honoring our Food Bank. Using this game-changing investment by the Commonwealth, we will be able to gather several millions of meals worth of fresh, wholesome food that is grown, husbanded, and crafted right here in Pennsylvania, and bring this healthy bounty to the dinner tables of thousands of Pennsylvania families in need. We view the PASS program as a win-win-win endeavor: a win for Pennsylvania agriculture, a win for local food sourcing and a win for Pennsylvanians in need.”
Pennsylvania farmers and food produc1ers interested in participating in PASS can contact the Department’s Bureau of Food Distribution at 800-468-2433. The Central Pennsylvania Food Bank is also ready to assist, please call 717-564-1700.