Harrisburg, Pa – The Shapiro Administration announced today that the Department has received more than $8.8 million in federal funding through the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program for food access for low-income seniors. Pennsylvania will receive more than 17.6% of $50 million in Bailout Grants that the USDA has awarded to 47 states to support each state’s program in 2023 and 2024.
Based on the department’s recent performance, the USDA has also increased the number of low-income Pennsylvania seniors that the department can serve with senior grocery boxes. The department will be able to provide nutritious staples to more than 4,000 seniors through the federally funded program. Pennsylvania saw the largest increase among just 11 states that received performance-based case counts, increasing the number of seniors to be served statewide from 36,218 to 40,225.
“No hunger in Pennsylvania is acceptable,” Redding said. “Our proven track record of serving elderly Pennsylvanians who need our help has earned us increased funding to continue to help improve the day-to-day quality of life for seniors across the state. The department will continue to be good stewards of state and federal funds and work diligently to ensure that no Pennsylvanian has to worry about where to get their next meal.”
This increase in funding for the Department of Agriculture comes at a critical time as more than 1.9 million Pennsylvanians — many of them seniors — face upcoming changes to their Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) eligibility as a result of federal and congressional action are. These changes will result in an immediate and significant reduction in monthly food aid appropriations effective March 1, 2023.
According to Feeding America’s most recent report on The State of Senior Hunger in America, five percent of Pennsylvanians ages 60 and older were food insecure and didn’t know where their next meal was coming from. The department’s Bureau of Food Assistance administers federal and state programs and promotes partnerships aimed at increasing food security throughout Pennsylvania.
The American Rescue Plan funds will allow the department to increase the dollar amount from $24 to $50 for coupons offered to eligible seniors to redeem for fresh, local groceries as part of the Senior Farmers Market Program. The funding will also provide added convenience to many farmers market vendors who accept the coupons through embedded QR codes that make depositing easier.
Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program vouchers are issued by Area Agencies on Aging from June through the end of September each year. Seniors with household incomes below 185% of the federal poverty line are eligible. Concrete income levels for 2023 have not yet been determined. Vouchers can be redeemed for fresh, wholesome, locally produced groceries at farmers’ markets across the state, promoting the health of older people through improved nutrition and the social interaction that a trip to the farmers’ market offers.
For more information on Senior Food Boxes and Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program coupons, visit the Department’s website, Agriculture.pa.gov. Seniors can search for participating farmers’ markets using the free PA FMNP Market Locator app, available through Android and Apple app stores.
Learn more about Pennsylvania’s work to increase food security in Pennsylvania at Agriculture.pa.gov/foodsecurity.
MEDIA CONTACT: Shannon Powers, 717-603-2056 or [email protected]