State officials concerned about where students will get food

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EAST LAMPETER TOWNSHIP, Pa. (WHTM) –  Power Packs Projects helps school children in both Lebanon County and Lancaster County with food over the weekend.

The nonprofit has seen a trend since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We have seen since the pandemic hit in March a consistent rise in people needing access to food,” Brad Peterson, Executive Director of Power Packs Projects, said.

Pennsylvania Secretary of Agriculture Russell Redding and Secretary of Human Services Teresa Miller volunteered Friday at Power Packs Project.

Redding and Miller acknowledged there are some students who rely on a school meal as their only source of food.

Redding and Miller thanked Power Pack Projects for their work and they said the nonprofit can help bridge the gap when school lunches aren’t available.

With many schools going virtual for the upcoming school year, there figures to be more of a challenge to feed children who won’t have access to meals at school.

Miller said what’s complicating the issue is that a federal assistance program that provided money to Power Packs Project is set to run out.

“If we don’t continue that support and we don’t continue a lot of the flexibility the federal government allowed we’re going to have a huge problem meeting the need,” Miller said.

Redding said Pennsylvania is doing what it can to make sure students don’t go hungry, but he said ultimately the choice to feed students may rely on a decision in Washington.

“Our call is to please United States Department of agriculture to work with us,” Redding said. “We all have the same goal, make sure the folks who are in need of nutrition receive it, particularly our young folks.”

Pennsylvanians who need help feeding themselves or their family should find and contact their local food bank or pantry through Feeding Pennsylvania and Hunger-Free Pennsylvania.

Applications for SNAP and other public assistance programs can be submitted here.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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