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

This will help provide critical food supplies to Pennsylvanians adversely affected as a result of statewide COVID-19 mitigation efforts

One day after a letter from Gov. Tom Wolf was sent to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, 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, to provide critical food supplies to Pennsylvanians adversely affected as a result of statewide COVID-19 mitigation efforts.

“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 acknowledgment of our need to feed Pennsylvania,” Wolf said. “This waiver lifts a weight off the shoulders of our food banks and families across the commonwealth.”

On Thursday, March 26, Wolf sent 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.

Late Friday, March 27, 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 and eggs – 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,” said 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 pa.gov/guides/responding-to-covid-19/ for the latest guidance and resources for Pennsylvanians, or health.pa.gov/topics/disease/coronavirus/Pages/Coronavirus.aspx for the most up-to-date information regarding COVID-19.