Official: Food bank 'scrambling' to aid Valley residents in need

Joe Neizer, president of the Danville-Riverside Food Bank, gets a meal ready while inside the Shiloh United Church of Christ in Danville on Friday.

The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture's Bureau of Food Assistance program has offered guidance regarding access to emergency food assistance if you are experiencing food insecurity for any reason related to COVID-19.

The following guidance is currently in place. Gov. Tom Wolf has put statewide closure for non-life-sustaining businesses along with "stay-at-home" orders for seven counties.

Who is eligible to get food from a food bank or food pantry?

If you are out of work without pay, you are eligible to receive food sourced from the state and federal government from a food bank or food pantry in Pennsylvania. This includes service workers who are unable to get shifts or hourly wage employees of non-essential businesses that have voluntarily closed due to COVID-19 mitigation. You will be asked to verbally complete a Self-Declaration of Need form, as signatures have been temporarily waived due to COVID-19. (Forms are also available in Spanish and Russian.) You will be asked to provide your household size and weekly income level as of the day you apply.

Will food banks be open?

Food banks are open and delivering food to many agencies, including pantries, shelters, and soup kitchens. Please call or visit the website of your regional food bank to be directed to agencies in your community. Many food banks are also doing special drive-through distributions. Please call for more information.

Where can I find a food bank or food pantry near me?

Contact the following Feeding PennsylvaniaOpens In A New Window and Hunger-Free PennsylvaniaOpens In A New Window member food banks to find out about food assistance services being offered in your county.

Central Pennsylvania Food BankOpens In A New Window (serving Adams, Bedford, Blair, Bradford, Centre, Clearfield, Clinton, Columbia, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Fulton, Huntingdon, Juniata, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lycoming, Mifflin, Montour, Northumberland, Perry Potter, Snyder, Sullivan, Tioga, Union and York counties)

How do I get food from a food bank if I can't leave my house because I am under isolation or quarantine?

If you or a family member is under isolation or quarantine, contact your local food bank to see if they have options to deliver food. If you are concerned about potential exposure, there are steps you and food banks can take to limit risk. The PA Department of Agriculture sent guidance to all food banks encouraging them to follow best practices to limit risk of exposure.

What do I do if my local food pantry is closed?

You can go to another food pantry in your area, using the links above. We recommend checking with your local food bank to ensure other local food pantries are open.

How will students access meals while schools are closed?

The Pennsylvania Department of Education offers information on accessing meals on its website.

Additionally, Valley schools have set up delivery times and drop-offs for students pickup up lunch and breakfast during a state mandated school closure through at least April 6. You can find that information here


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