HARRISBURG (PRNewswire-USNewswire) – In a church setting, “passing the plate” usually means asking for cash donations. The intent of more than 3,600 personal messages written on paper plates delivered today to Gov. Ed Rendell is to request $20 million for food for needy families in his next Pennsylvania state budget.
The handwritten messages were carried to the Governor’s Office by officials of the Pennsylvania Association of Regional Food Banks in an effort to underscore the human impact of the state’s emergency food assistance program and the importance of continuing the trend of increasing the budget to meet community needs.
“These are real messages to the Governor from real people who have benefited from this important program this year,” said Marlene Kozak, PARF president. “Pennsylvania, historically, has directed part of its abundant resources to help those families who struggle to put food on the table. This year, the appropriation for food purchases increased to $18.75 million. We’re not asking for the moon, but an increase is needed.”
Sheila Christopher, PARF executive director, noted, “One in 10 families in Pennsylvania face food security issues. They may not be starving, but they do go to bed hungry. They do have to make serious sacrifices to make ends meet, and they already qualify for food stamps and other state and federal assistance programs. But the state food purchase program is needed to fill in the gaps in commodities and staples.”
She added, “Three in 100 Pennsylvania families face more serious, daily hunger issues. For them, this state program and the efforts of food banks are necessities for survival.”
Joyce Rothermel, PARF government relations chair, said the association members have been encouraged by the Commonwealth’s response over the years.
“The state’s food purchase money goes to county grants which result in the purchase of needed staples distributed by food banks, food pantries and soup kitchens,” Rothermel said. “The state’s food banks are an extraordinary partnership between state and local government and the private sector — the grocery stores, restaurants, food processors, farm families, corporations, foundations and individuals who donate products and money to feed people in need.”