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Wolf Administration Highlights Importance of Food Assistance Programs with Community Partners at Delaware Valley University During Hunger Action Month

Sep 27, 2019

Wolf Administration Highlights Importance of Food Assistance Programs with Community Partners at Delaware Valley University During Hunger Action Month

Credit: Delaware Valley University. Guests visited Delaware Valley University’s Hope of the Harvest charitable garden, where sweet corn was being harvested and loaded into a food pantry truck to help fight hunger. From left: Bucks County Opportunity Council Executive Director Erin Lukoss, State Rep. Wendy Ullman, Department of Education Secretary Pedro Rivera, Department of Human Services Secretary Teresa Miller, Delaware Valley University Dean of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences Dr. Broc Sandelin, DelVal President Dr. Maria Gallo, Department of Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding, and United Way of Bucks County Director of Community Impact for Health Tim Philpot.

Department of Human Services Secretary Teresa Miller, Department of Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding, and Department of Education Secretary Pedro Rivera joined community partners at Delaware Valley University’s Hope of the Harvest during the Wolf Administration’s Hunger Action Month tour to highlight charitable food networks and supports provided in communities across Pennsylvania.

“More than 1.5 million people around Pennsylvania experience food insecurity and may not know where they will get their next meal,” said Human Services Secretary Miller. “For too many people, food insecurity is their daily reality. We must do our part to ensure access to food assistance programs for our neighbors, so we can eliminate the growing hunger gaps across Pennsylvania.”

September is National Hunger Action Month. In Pennsylvania, approximately 1.53 million residents experience chronic hunger and food insecurity every day. Food insecurity means not having access to reliable and nutritious meals. Since hunger and health are deeply connected, the effects of inadequate food are profound. Those effects include increased risks for chronic diseases, higher chances of hospitalization, poorer overall health, and increased health care costs. Programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and charitable food networks around the commonwealth help working adults, people with disabilities, older adults and children access food and expand their purchasing power so they do not have to choose between paying for a doctor’s appointment or being able to eat dinner.

DelVal’s Hope of the Harvest is a partnership among the University, Philabundance, Bucks County Opportunity Council (BCOC), the United Way of Bucks County, the Land O’Lakes Foundation, the Reinvestment Fund and the Lehigh Valley Community Foundation. The project uses land owned by the University to grow fresh, nutritious food for local food pantries. The garden provides more than 10,000 families access to a wide array of healthy nutritious fruits and vegetables to choose from in the BCOC network of food pantries and Fresh Connect distributions.

“In a state as agriculturally rich as Pennsylvania, it’s unconscionable that more than 1.5 million are hungry,” said Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding. “I was privileged to be at DelVal for the inception of the Hope of the Harvest garden, and I’m incredibly proud of the students and University staff who are addressing the immediate needs of hunger in their community with the garden’s bounty while simultaneously offering a hands-on agriculture education experience.”

“It is proven that students focus and learn best when they have access to and are provided with healthy and nutritious food selections,” said Education Secretary Rivera. “We are honored to support community programs such as Hope of the Harvest for their contributions in keeping Pennsylvania students succeeding in the classroom with access to healthy foods, enabling them to perform their best in school.”

For more on food assistance program in Pennsylvania, please visit dhs.pa.gov

For more information on Hope of the Harvest, please visit delval.edu/hoh