Innamorato: More than $1 million in funding awarded to county food pantries

Emergency funding to help with equipment, other costs

PITTSBURGH, May 26 – More than $1 million in emergency federal funding has been awarded to help local food pantries during the coronavirus crisis, state Rep. Sara Innamorato, D-Allegheny, announced today. Locally, organizations that received grants included 412 Food Rescue, Earthen Vessel and St. Juan Diego.

“The ongoing pandemic has not just threatened the physical health of our communities but has pushed our social programs – already underfunded and hobbled – to the breaking point. That is why it is critical that we get resources to the people and organizations that need them the most, like our community food partners,” Innamorato said. “We need to – and programs like this are -- swiftly routing our federal aid to our community partners, nonprofits, families and small businesses where it can do the most good.”

The grants will allow food banks, shelters and soup kitchens to cover the costs of equipment purchases necessary to prepare, transport and store food acquired from retailers, wholesalers, farms, processors and cooperatives. Examples of eligible equipment that will be funded include refrigerated or non-refrigerated box trucks, industrial-sized refrigerators, pallet jacks and/or dollies. Installation and shipping costs were also eligible for support.

Increased demand on the charitable food system related to COVID-19 has demonstrated an immediate need for resources to support additional cold storage space, and more flexibility. This grant program encouraged partnerships between nonprofit organizations such as food banks and farms, processors, and cooperatives that continue to experience challenges within the food supply chain as a result of the COVID-19 emergency.

“Our goal when expanding the Food Recovery Infrastructure Grant was to quickly get money to the people that could do the most to help, and the charitable organizations of Pennsylvania responded,” said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “These grants will help guarantee food security to our residents that need it.”