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Wolf Administration receives USDA approval for COVID-19 disaster food distribution

This programs aims to provide critical food supplies to Pennsylvanians adversely affected as a result of statewide COVID-19 mitigation efforts.

PENNSYLVANIA, USA — Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding received approval for the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture to operate a Disaster Household Distribution program, through The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP).

This programs aims to provide critical food supplies to Pennsylvanians adversely affected as a result of statewide COVID-19 mitigation efforts, according to a release. 

“Hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians have applied for unemployment compensation after just two weeks of COVID-19 mitigation efforts. I’m incredibly grateful for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s acknowledgement of our need to feed Pennsylvania,” Wolf said in the release. “This waiver lifts a weight off the shoulders of our food banks and families across the commonwealth.”

On Thursday, Gov. Wolf sent Secretary Perdue a letter urging him to approve the department’s waiver application that would allow more food to be distributed at hundreds of locations across the state, while temporarily waiving the need to verify household eligibility.

Then on Friday, the department received approval to use USDA Foods as part of a Disaster Household Distribution program being operated through the state’s network of food banks, food pantries, and pop-up distribution sites. The approval allows the department and its partners to more efficiently distribute a variety of foods – including meats, vegetables, fruit, canned goods, cereal, rice, pasta, eggs, and more – to those most affected by the closure of non-life sustaining businesses in Pennsylvania.

“The unified, bipartisan support we saw as we pushed for this waiver is proof that we’re truly all in this together,” added Redding. “We will overcome this trial; and until that day, we will work hand in hand – figuratively, of course – to provide for the Pennsylvanians who are sacrificing so much for the sake of protecting their neighbors.”

Visit the commonwealth's Responding to COVID-19 guide for the latest guidance and resources for Pennsylvanians or the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s dedicated coronavirus webpage for the most up-to-date information regarding COVID-19.

View the USDA’s letter here.

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