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Food banks hope proposed city budget can help address food insecurity – CBS News

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By Chris Hoffman
November 15, 2022 / 7:12 PM / CBS Pittsburgh
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — According to the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, about 60,000 people don’t know where their next meal is coming from in the city. 
On Monday, Mayor Ed Gainey proposed $3 million to tackle food insecurity in his 2023 budget.  
According to the food bank’s numbers, that’s roughly 20% of people in the city living with food insecurity. The national average is about 13%. Some of the hardest groups hit by the problem include seniors on a fixed income and children.  
“Access to fresh food in every neighborhood in Pittsburgh is a priority for our administration,” Mayor Gainey said during his budget address on Monday.  
He plans on taking the $3 million of American Rescue Plan money from the Land Bank to address food insecurity and food justice. The city feels food insecurity is more of an urgent need that needs to be addressed with this money.  
“The need has been there for many, many years, but it is especially high right now. Many families are being impacted by inflation, high grocery prices, higher gas costs,” Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank CEO and President Lisa Scales said.
She said the 80 food pantries around the city are seeing a higher demand for food. It has not slowed down with inflation making the dollar not stretch as far.  
“Families are really struggling,” 412 Food Rescue COO Jennifer England said.  
According to her, the pandemic spiked the need for food and it has not slowed down. In 2020, the city identified 23 healthy food priority areas: communities that have low healthy food access, low income, low vehicle ownership, and low health outcome. She said when a community has access to healthy food, students do better in school and communities thrive.  
“We’d really love to see this money invests in those communities. Supporting local businesses, local food businesses, that help people access healthy food in their communities,” England said.  
The food banks said it’s been in discussion with the mayor’s office and city council on addressing this problem. It said as soon as a budget is passed, food will be infused into the city.  
“It could also go to help build the capacity of our food pantries so that they can serve even more people,” Scales said.
Pittsburgh City Council will start to discuss this budget Wednesday at its 10 a.m. meeting.
Chris is an award-winning reporter who started with KDKA in May 2019. He is thrilled to tell your stories in his hometown!
First published on November 15, 2022 / 7:12 PM
© 2022 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.
©2022 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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