First Lady Frances Wolf, Press Release York, PA – First Lady Frances Wolf and Department of Human Services (DHS) Secretary Teresa Miller today joined the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank and Auditor General Eugene DePasquale to highlight the food bank’s new report on hunger in York County, the importance of charitable food organizations, and the effects of food insecurity on health.“It is a sad reality that too many Pennsylvanians face the threat of hunger every day,” First Lady Frances Wolf said. “There is no greater responsibility than ensuring the health and well-being of our citizens, yet this mission cannot be achieved by government alone. We must continue to take an active, collaborative approach to ensure all Pennsylvanians have adequate access to fresh, nutrient-dense foods. The Central Pennsylvania Food Bank and its partners work tirelessly to meet this need in the communities they serve, and I am grateful for their partnership and work to combat food insecurity across Pennsylvania.”More than 1.5 million Pennsylvanians face food insecurity every day. Chronic hunger and food insecurity can have profound impacts on a person’s health and well-being. Children who are food insecure are more likely to have poor academic outcomes and adults who do not have enough to eat have worse physical and behavioral health outcomes and higher medical spending.The Central Pennsylvania Food Bank’s report is an evaluation of food security and the charitable food network in York County. It found that more than 55,000 residents of York County are food insecure, and 35 percent of food needs are currently unmet. The report’s findings and recommendations outline opportunities to help close this gap and provide a foundation for continuing to address food security around the commonwealth.The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is the nation’s most important anti-hunger program and helps more than 1.8 million Pennsylvanians avoid food insecurity. Children, people with disabilities, and elderly Pennsylvanians are some of the program’s biggest beneficiaries. SNAP expands recipients’ purchasing power to buy food from their local grocery stores and farmers markets. Participation in SNAP allows Pennsylvanians to buy nutritious food that supports children’s learning abilities, improves health outcomes, lowers health care costs, and helps working families keep food on the table.Charitable food organizations make significant contributions to their communities by supporting individuals facing food insecurity and allowing them to access additional resources so people do not go hungry. Their work to supplement food assistance programs helps individuals who are food insecure make ends meet so they are less likely to choose between paying for food or going without basic needs like housing, medical care, clothing, utilities, and other essentials.In May 2019, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) published a study on the influence of SNAP redemptions on the economy and county-level employment in the time leading up to, during, and after the Great Recession. This study found that SNAP redemptions could have a greater economic stimulus impact than many other forms of government spending per dollar spent, especially during a recession, because they are paid directly to low-income individuals. For instance, the grocery subsidies deliver food directly to tables along with a financial return into rural supermarkets and small businesses in those communities.This positive economic impact is felt in positive economic climates. In 2017, $2.7 billion dollars in SNAP benefits were redeemed at Pennsylvania grocery stores and other authorized retailers. Those dollars support farmers and jobs across Pennsylvania.In September 2016, Setting the Table: Blueprint for a Hunger-Free PA was developed to address hunger in PA as a response to Governor Wolf’s executive order establishing the Governor’s Food Security Partnership. The partnership includes the departments of Aging, Agriculture, Community and Economic Development, Education, Health, and Human Services.Since the release of the blueprint in 2016, the Wolf Administration has completed key steps in eliminating food insecurity by:• Growing food security programs in the Medicaid system;• Increasing knowledge of summer feeding programs by mailing summer feeding postcards to all SNAP recipient households;• Reducing stigma associated with SNAP by rebranding SNAP for seniors’ materials;• Broadening current programs across various departments to encourage food security components;• Educating children, families and seniors on the necessary nutrition needed for a healthy life;• Shorting the Elderly/Disabled Simplified Application Project (ESAP) application for seniors from 24 pages to 2 pages, which has benefited more than 390,000 people; and• Being a national leader in SNAP application timeliness and reducing SNAP error rates.“To truly end hunger in Pennsylvania, it will take a commitment from the private, public, and non-profit sectors of government to ensure the availability of a holistic array of interventions and supports to lift low-income families out of poverty and toward better health outcomes,” Secretary Miller said. “The findings in this report show the community’s commitment to providing resources for individuals to lead an active, healthy life, but shows us that there are still opportunities to do more to help all Pennsylvanians have enough to eat and avoid chronic hunger.”Pennsylvanians who may qualify but do not currently receive the services can apply online through our COMPASS application at dhs.pa.gov, on a smartphone with the myCOMPASS PA app, or in-person at your local County Assistance Office.Find out more information regarding the Blueprint for a Hunger-Free Pennsylvania.For more information and resources to fight hunger throughout the commonwealth, visit www.dhs.pa.gov/ending-hunger. First Lady Frances Wolf, Secretary Teresa Miller Join Local Food Service Providers to Unveil New Report on Hunger in York County SHARE Email Facebook Twitter June 21, 2019
Dr. Kelly Greco, the assistant director of outreach and prevention services for USC student Health, sets up for a suicide prevention discussion. The event was cut short because no students showed up. (Julia Rosher | Daily Trojan)USC Student Health held two open discussions centered on suicide prevention on Monday. These were the only USC-hosted events for National Suicide Prevention Week, a nationwide effort to raise awareness about suicide. However, the discussion was cut short after no students showed up — not a single seat was filled during both sessions. While the lack of attendees may have dampened the intended discussion, professionals still emphasized the need for open forums among students and faculty. “The reality [is] that student populations are experiencing seemingly more distress yearly,” said Dr. Robert Mendola, the division’s executive director and division chief for student mental health. “We have to identify what’s going on and how to prevent this trend.” The discussion was meant to inform students about a suicide prevention tactic titled “Take 5 to save lives,” which presenters said can take as little as five minutes to implement. The tactic includes educating students on signs of suicide, self-care, awareness and the importance of reaching out to professionals.The forum was also meant to address the increased risk of suicide among marginalized groups including the LGBTQ community. “What we do see is that the [suicide] rates are very high for the LGBTQ community,” said Dr. Kelly Greco, the assistant director of outreach and prevention services. Throughout this week, USC will be emphasizing the importance of spreading awareness among peers across social media platforms. There will also be a large focus on encouraging students to participate in an ongoing dialogue that extends far past this week. “This is a topic and dialogue that needs to be continuous throughout the year,” Greco said. The Engemann Student Health Center has started working with the Jed Foundation, a nonprofit organization that helps evaluate a campus’ needs for mental health services and creates comprehensive systems, programs and policies tailored toward mental health, substance abuse and suicide prevention efforts. By integrating the Jed program onto campus, the health center can pinpoint specific issues to target that are present in the well-being of USC students. “Our efforts are increasing because our resources are increasing,” Mendola said while referring to the addition of 10 new therapists to the counseling center’s resources. “By increasing our therapists by 10, we’re not just increasing direct service to students, we’re increasing our availability to engage in programs.” An example of a new program the center is offering comes in the form of “Feel Better” workshops, which cover topics on anxiety, resilience and other issues present on campus. The workshops encourage proactive student participation in a safe environment; however, they will only take place during the beginning of the semester. Another resource mentioned was Trojan Care for Trojans, an anonymous request form available to all students if they feel worried about a peer. “The undertone of all of this is how do we create a campus driven by a culture of student wellbeing?” said Paula Swinford, the director of the Office for Wellness and Health Promotion.