Call for more funding as state anti-hunger program turns 30

Written by Craig Layne and Radio Pennsylvania | Jan 24, 2013 3:59 AM

(Harrisburg) -- A statewide anti-hunger program is turning 30 this year, but the celebration is muted.

The State Food Purchase Program helps food banks feed the state's hungriest families.

It was founded in 1983 and written into law 10 years later, but recently its funding has been scaled back.

Hunger-Free Pennsylvania Executive Director Sheila Christopher says state support has fallen by about $1.4 million over five years to roughly $17.3 million dollars.

"Over the years we haven't had the big decline, but we started having a decline in funding before anyone, actually," Christopher says. "It just gradually has gone down, and down, and down. It really has to stop."

Christopher says she would like to see $24 million in the coming state budget for the food purchase program.

She says that amount of money would match 2008's level, adjusted for inflation.

The state Agriculture Secretary says more than 1.4 million Pennsylvanians are at risk of hunger and qualify for the food purchase program.

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