By: KDKA-TV News Staff

HARRISBURG (KDKA) – The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture is distributing 7.9 million pounds of food to food banks.

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Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding announced Friday that the department purchased an additional $12.9 million worth of U.S. Department of Agriculture Foods through the Emergency Food Assistance Program.

The department says the supplemental federal funds have been used to purchase more than 7.9 million pounds of food to be delivered between June and December.

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In 2020, the Department of Agriculture distributed about 70 million pounds of USDA Foods, compared to the usual yearly average of 23 million.

“While we’re actively getting Pennsylvanians back to work as the pandemic slows, many are still recovering from severe economic stress which has in turn stressed our charitable food system,” said Redding in a press release.

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“These federal funds are allowing us to increase the flow of food to food banks across the commonwealth as they work to continue meeting unprecedented demand.”