By Alecia Reid

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — As food insecurity soars, the region’s food banks are getting some much-needed help. A number of organizations across the commonwealth are breathing a sigh of relief now that renewed funding will help feed families in need.

Food insecurity is at an all-time high during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I depend on the food every time we get it because it helps us,” said Sister Sharon Reed of West Philadelphia.

Due to a lapse in funding, the Farmers To Families Food Box program ended on Dec. 31.

“We should not have played politics in Washington with people’s lives and people’s food security for this long,” said Thoai Nguyen with SEAMAAC.

The newly allocated $1.5 billion in funding will allow it to continue.

“Many times the lines go a couple of blocks down,” said Pastor Joe Nock with Second Antioch Baptist Church.

Because of the delay between the time the program ended and President Donald Trump’s signed renewal, there will be a few weeks where organizations such as the Share Food Program will have to bridge the gap.

“We were gonna have to spend up to $300,000 just in the first few weeks alone in order to supply that extra food that had been cut from the federal government,” Share Food Program Executive Director George Matysik said.

Matysik says tens of thousands of people across Philadephia depend on agencies like his to provide food. Reinstated funding will make a difference.

“It’s gonna help us provide food to at least 42,000 additional families per week, is what we were doing at the high point previously,” he said.

The program had to be scaled back from once a week to once a month, and there are no fresh fruits or vegetables. Instead, there will be more staple and non-perishable foods.

“Thank God for the help for my family and every other family they help,” said West Philly resident Sharon Holsey.


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