HARRISBURG, Pa., Oct. 15 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Agriculture Secretary Russell C. Redding today encouraged Pennsylvanians to help end hunger by supporting the state's charitable food system as part of "World Food Day," observed Oct. 16.
"Pennsylvania is home to an abundant food supply thanks to our farmers and food processors, yet one in 10 families do not know from where their next meal will come," said Redding. "Tough economic conditions have forced many of our friends and neighbors to turn to food banks, pantries and soup kitchens, and these organizations are struggling to meet the growing need for emergency food assistance.
"The foundation of emergency food assistance programs are the compassionate volunteers who donate their time, money or food items, and I encourage each Pennsylvanian to act not only this Saturday on World Food Day, but every day. Together, we can help end hunger in Pennsylvania – one meal at a time."
Today, Redding joined staff members from the state Department of Agriculture and community volunteers to serve meals to Harrisburg-area residents in need at Downtown Daily Bread, one of the state's 1,800 emergency food assistance agencies.
As part of today's volunteer efforts, Knouse Foods and Centerplate donated products, and time and expertise, respectively, to the meal.
Pennsylvania is one of a small number of states that funds its own State Food Purchase Program, or SFPP, to supplement food supplies at emergency food assistance agencies. More than 3.9 million citizens were assisted through this program in 2009.
In addition to a state appropriation, federal funding provided through The Emergency Food Assistance Program, or TEFAP, helped assistance agencies provide 24 million pounds of food to more than 4.8 million people throughout the state in 2009.
"In partnership with state and federal programs, our emergency food assistance agencies are better able to extend the reach of programs like SFPP and TEFAP to people in need throughout the state, including those served by our partners at Harrisburg's Downtown Daily Bread," said Redding.
Governor Edward G. Rendell proclaimed Oct. 16 as "World Food Day" in Pennsylvania to raise awareness of the ongoing hunger crisis and promote ways in which Pennsylvanians can help eliminate hunger.
For more information about the state's food distribution programs, visit www.agriculture.state.pa.us and click on "Bureaus" and then "Food Distribution," or call 800-468-2433.
Media contact: Nicole L. C. Bucher, 717-787-5085
SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture