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The State of Food Insecurity in Pennsylvania

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, families have relied on flexibilities and expansions to federal benefits such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to help them weather the economic instability caused by the pandemic. Many of these flexibilities ended with the sunsetting of the Federal Public Health Emergency, leaving families to navigate changing programs and additional restrictions. Propel (the creator of “Providers”, a free mobile app that helps over 5 million low-income families manage their SNAP benefits) administers a monthly survey to around 5,000 of their users, who answer questions about accessing government benefits, employment, housing, and food insecurity. These surveys have been incredibly helpful in tracking the effect of these flexibilities and the impact of their being phased out. This month, the survey provided crucial insights into how food insecure families in Pennsylvania are faring compared to one year ago, and found that, despite a modest improvement in the percentage of households with children who skipped meals, there were many measures in which families reported struggling at higher rates compared to last August.

  • 47% of surveyed households with children relied on family or friends for food, up from 25% last August.
  • 55% of all surveyed households ate less due to budget constraints, up from 40% last August.
  • 39% of all surveyed households visited food pantries, compared to 32% last August.

The survey also showed that families with children reported falling behind on payments more so than households without children, with 22% of households with children falling behind on rent in August, compared to 12% of households without children.

These insights show that while federal benefits return to their pre-pandemic status, families continue to feel the effects of the past three years. 

See national insights from the August survey at Propel’s website, and take action to support our friends and neighbors experiencing food insecurity by joining our 27th Annual Race Against Hunger 5K in-person or virtually!


Back to School

As many students return to school, we're focused on ensuring families are accessing all of the school food resources available to them! This year, all Pennsylvania public students will be able to receive a free school breakfast, no paperwork required, thanks to the recently passed PA budget.

The budget also provides additional state funds so that students who previously qualified for a reduced-price meal through the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) will now be able to get a free school lunch. If your child does not attend a school that participates in the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP), where all students receive free school meals, you will need to sign your child up for the Free and Reduced-Price School Meals program! Families can apply by filling out an application through their child's school or through COMPASS.