More than 800 food banks, homeless shelters, and other groups have sent a letter to Gov. Tom Corbett to press for help for Pennsylvania’s impoverished residents.
Their goal is more funding for the state’s Food Purchase Program, which provides them the grants they need to buy and distribute food to the needy.
They are seeking an additional $6 million for the program.Sheila Christopher, with Hunger Free Pennsylvania, says her organization can’t, in good conscience, ask for anything less.
“Not only have we had a tremendous increase in demand over the last five or six years, but we’ve also been experiencing food cost increases,” she said Wednesday.
But the governor’s budget office is cautioning agencies not to ask for more funding in their budget proposals. And $6 million is a sizable increase.
The State Food Purchase Program has seen cuts recently — but more on the order of $1.5 million over the past six years.
Christopher says cuts to the State Food Purchase Program have come right before the state budget is passed – sometimes in the hours before a final spending plan is passed.
“And then in the wee hours of the budget process at the end of June, we’ve experienced cuts,” she said. “So we kind of — I don’t know if you want to say blindsided, but we have been kind of blindsided with those cuts where we thought everything was going OK.”