The Governor has ordered that all restaurants and bars close their dine-in facilities to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Businesses that offer carry-out, delivery, and drive-through food and beverage service may continue to do so.
Some essential businesses such as grocery stores are putting hours in place so vulnerable populations, such as senior citizens, can shop more safely. Please contact local businesses to see if they are organizing these accommodations.
The PA Department of Agriculture has approval from USDA to waive any requirements that food be consumed on-site at soup kitchens and other congregate feeding sites. At least for the time being, during this period of a State and Federal Declaration of Emergency, meals prepared using government foods at congregate feeding sites can be packaged in to-go containers and sent along with clients. For full guidance, click here.
USDA has provided a waiver stating PA may distribute food at hundreds of locations across the state, while temporarily waiving the need to verify household eligibility.
The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) announced that it received waiver approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to allow schools to provide free meals to all children during statewide COVID-19 mitigation efforts.
Prior to receiving this waiver, schools that did not meet area-based free or reduced-price meal eligibility requirements were unable to offer free meals community-wide. This waiver eases those requirements and helps ensure all children have access to food. Schools still have a choice whether or not to provide this service.
County Assistance Offices will continue to process applications for benefits such as SNAP and maintain existing cases.
The Central PA Food Bank serves 27 counties in central PA. The agency partners of the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank are providing groceries and take-out meals to people in need. Alternative distributions are scheduled at many different locations with significant precautionary procedures in place to protect clients, staff and volunteers. People who are hungry and families that rely on food assistance should still seek help when they need it. Visit the “Find Food” page on www.centralpafoodbank.org to find the closest program or call 717-547-6336 for information.
Food Connect is a 501c3 nonprofit organization that helps bridge the gap between surplus food and hunger. They work with food vendors to help donate their excess food to local shelters and soup kitchens. See this flyer for information on donating or signing up to receive donations.