About the Podcast:

Anti-hunger expert Jane Clements-Smith shares the shocking numbers behind Pennsylvania hunger during the COVID-19 crisis and how feeding programs jumped in to help.



Jane Clements-Smith



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Her #1 tip to improve access to healthy food:

With the increased surge in demand, the best way to help provide food for all is through a monetary donation. This is one of the most efficient and effective ways to support food banks and Feeding Pennsylvania because these facilities and our organization can stretch your dollar further to buy what we need in bulk directly from suppliers. It also allows all of us to control the inventory much more closely and protect staff in a way that our food drives would expose them to other kinds of risk.

About Jane Clements-Smith:

Jane Clements-Smith is the Executive Director of Feeding Pennsylvania, the state association of Feeding America food banks. Serving as a statewide voice on hunger issues, Jane spends her time advocating for policies that support hungry families on both the state and federal levels. Under her leadership, Feeding Pennsylvania has launched several new initiatives including Fill a Glass with Hope ®, the Mid-Atlantic Regional Cooperative (MARC), the Healthy Pantry Initiative and successfully contracted with the PA Department of Agriculture to administer the Pennsylvania Agricultural Surplus System.  In her role, Jane serves on the state’s Mass Care Feeding Task Force through the PA Department of Human Resources and oversees a Disaster Response Committee, responding to both in and out of state disasters. In 2017, Jane was appointed by the Pennsylvania Secretary of Agriculture to serve on the Emergency Food Assistance Advisory Council and has been serving as chair since 2018. Jane is also active in Governor Wolf’s Food Security Partnership.

Discussion Takeaways:

  • Hunger comes with multiple problems. Food banks can help with one of them, food provisions. In a time of crisis, a little help goes a long way.
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) invests 3 BILLION dollars in the grocery stores annually in Pennsylvania.
  • The majority of people on the SNAP are underpaid workers, children, people with disabilities and elderly.
  • Food banks in Pennsylvania served more than 5 million people in the first 3 months of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Education is the best way to fight hunger.
  • Hunger looks different everywhere.
  • Food security is a top priority for everyone.
  • If we keep hearing the rhetoric from our leaders on TV accusing people of abusing food assistance programs, more people will be scared to get the help they need.
  • Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Feeding Pennsylvania food banks have done everything they can to meet increasing need for assistance, but the crisis response has resulted in significant financial burden. In turn, food banks have been relying on the generosity of donors to support these costs.

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