Conklin, Takac announce $60,000 to combat food insecurity at Penn State

STATE COLLEGE, Jan. 11 – To combat food insecurity, state Reps. Scott Conklin and Paul Takac, both D-Centre, announced that the PA Department of Education awarded $60,000 to the Pennsylvania State University.

The funding will make fresh produce more accessible, as well as expand the University Park Basic Needs Hub and food pantries at all Penn State campuses across the commonwealth.

“As the cost of tuition and meals continues to increase on campuses across the country, we must ensure students have access to food so that they may succeed,” Conklin said. “With 39% of undergraduate students being low-income, many students struggle with accessing affordable food. Through this funding, Penn State will have the opportunity to further combat food insecurity, ensuring its students feel secure, rather than hungry, while attending their classes. The cost of higher education already poses a barrier to students, and we should not allow hunger to pose an additional barrier.”

Takac said, “Hunger affects every community, including among students here at Penn State’s University Park campus. Fortunately, there are several student groups and organizations working with university administrators to address this problem and ensure that every student has reliable access to healthy, nutritious food. This PA Hunger Free Campus grant will help address food insecurity on campus, including expanding access to food options, creating awareness, and developing innovative and flexible solutions to meet the unique needs of college students.”

“Penn State is dedicated to ensuring food access for all students,” said Leanne Lenz, associate director of Student Care and Advocacy. “The PA Hunger Free Campus grant allows us to advance our food security and other basic needs initiatives in a way that increases accessibility and contributes to the overall wellbeing and success of Penn State students.”

In 2023, Penn State worked to address poverty on campus by providing necessities to students, expanding its food pantry, donating money to students in need to purchase food, and advocating for students by helping them navigate resources available through Penn State, the county, state, and federal government.

“As these services expand with more funding, I will continue my work as the state representative for the 77th Legislative District to support students as they navigate the state services available to them,” Conklin added. “By doing so, my staff and I have the opportunity to help thousands of Pennsylvanians access basic needs, as outlined by Governor Josh Shapiro and PDE.”

For more information on the state services available, students may contact Conklin at 814-238-5477 or Takac at 814-308-0569.