Hi Food Pantry Friends,                                                                    March 25, 2010

Where Does It All Come From

Almost everyone who comes to the Wellsboro Area Food Pantry (WAFP) for the first time sooner or later looks around and asks, “Where does it all come from?”  In this newsletter I will try to explain where it all comes from.

The WAFP is primarily supported by donations from the Wellsboro community.  In 2009, 63% of our total spending was funded by private donations.  The remaining 37% was funded by state and federal grants.

Central Pennsylvania Food Bank
The primary program that supports the WAFP is our affiliation with the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank, which serves Tioga County from a warehouse in Williamsport.  Most food banks operate independently but are affiliated with Feeding America which used to be known as America’s Second Harvest.  The Feeding America Program solicits donations of surplus food and money from corporations for distribution through the food banks to local organizations such as the WAFP. 

The WAFP has a contract with the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank.  In return for operating a food pantry according to their guidelines we can acquire donated food for an $.18 a pound handling fee and buy other food at an discount price.  Each Monday we get an email inventory sheet of available food items that Marianne Rice or Karen Morrow fills out and returns.  The food is delivered the following Tuesday.

The Emergency Assistance Food Program (TEFAP). 
TEFAP is a Federal program that helps supplement the diets of low-income persons by providing them with emergency food.  The food comes from the Commodity Food Network which is run by the Department of Agriculture.  Basically the federal government buys food as part of its price support programs.  The food is then distributed to schools and eligible non profits.

The WAFP is certified by the County Commissioners as eligible to receive food under this program and is supervised in this activity by the Tioga County Human Services Agency.  Each month Carol Hallead, who is the TEFAP Coordinator, receives a letter with our monthly allotment of food.  I have no idea how our allotment is determined. 

TEFAP requires us to register people and have them fill out a self declaration of income form.  We also have to track the distribution of each food item and have the recipient sign for the items.  This is what Connie Leatherman does with her tally sheets at Table 1.  At the end of the month, Carol does an inventory and a report to the county to insure that the amount of food received minus the amount distributed equals the amount on our shelves.  Most months this system works well and the inventory hardly takes any time at all.  Sometimes it’s a real mess.  Either way, thanks Connie and Carol.


The State Food Purchase Program (SFPP)
The SFPP provides cash grants to counties for the purchase and distribution of food to low income individuals. The WAFP is certified by the County Commissioners as eligible to receive food under this program and is supervised in this activity by the Tioga County Human Services Agency.  Shortly after the state budget is passed we receive our annual allocation in a letter from the county.  The program establishes a line of credit for the WAFP with the food bank and with Fellingers, a wholesale food company in State College.

The SFPP has the same registration and eligibility requirements as TEFAP but other than having people sign for food, they don’t require us to tally every item as TEFAP does.  Clients sign for the state food when the sign in with Helen Putnam at the check-in table.

The Emergency Food and Shelter Program (EFSP)
The EFSP is a cooperative program between the government and non profits institutions.  Federal funds are allocated to a national board chaired by the United Way.  Local boards are established in each county to determine the distribution of funds in that county.  There is a lot of competition for this money as many charities in the county are eligible to receive funding. 

The WAFT does have to apply for this money, complete a number of forms, and provide a number of items to the local board annually.  This money does come to the WAFP but we have to keep it in a separate checking account and provide receipts for purchases made to the county.  We also have to spend the money by June 30 for what’s called the phase allocation and October 31 for any additional allocation.

The WAFP also participates in the Feinstein Challenge in March and April and applies the Latter Day Saints for an annual grant of food. 

If you know of other funding possibilities for the WAFP from your place of work, church, or community organization, please bring it to my attention.

We are also always on the lookout for places to buy large quantities of food at discount prices to supplement what is available from the food bank.  We’ve made purchases in the past from Aldi, Sam’s Club, Walmart, Dollar General, and Dollar Days, none of which have been entirely satisfactory for one reason or another.  

Hope this newsletter explains where it all comes from.

Bill Yacovissi