HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — The Wolf Administration is working to improve the accessibility and awareness of Pennsylvania’s Senior Food Box Program. This program is feeding 20% more seniors this year compared to last year.

According to the release provided, in early 2021 the Senior Food Box Program was at risk of being decreased, as older Pennsylvanians weren’t using the program. Over 300,000 Pennsylvanians are eligible to participate in this program and the benefits it offers, however as of May 2021 only 28,000 of Pennsylvanians were taking advantage of the program.

Seniors unfortunately face many barriers and obstacles that can make everyday tasks, like having a meal, difficult. Factors such as transportation, mobility, and technology make it harder for seniors to have access to meals.

The Department of Agriculture is working to improve this awareness, in partnership with Hunger-Free Pennsylvania.

Since the decrease in May of 2021, the Department of Agriculture has done the following:

  • Changed the name of the program from the “Commodity Supplemental Food Program” to the “Senior Food Box Program”
  • Remove income verification requirements and transitioned to a self-declaration of eligibility
  • Hosted a listening session with First Lady Frances Wolf to hear first-hand experiences and recommendations for program improvements from those who were already receiving the box
  • Partnered with DoorDash to offer seniors the ability to have their box delivered for free
    • DoorDash is available in 15 counties including Bucks, Columbia, Dauphin, Erie, Fayette, Franklin, Lancaster, Lebanon, Luzerne, Montgomery, Montour, Philadelphia, Washington, Westmoreland, and York
  • Partnered with the Department of Aging and the PACE Prescription Assistance Program call center to proactively contact and enroll eligible seniors in the program