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District Office
1555 Highlands Drive
Suite 110
Lititz, PA 17543
Phone:  (717) 626-1776
FAX:  (717) 626-4234

Capitol Office
51A East Wing
PO Box 202097
Harrisburg PA 17120-2097
Phone: (717) 787-1776


Waste Not, Want Not – Responsible Use of State Revenue
By Rep. Steve Mentzer
Rep. Steve Mentzer (R-Lititz) receives a Hunger Heroes Award from the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank for his efforts in helping area food banks and supporting legislation that helps fight hunger. In the picture from the left, Jennifer Powell, Director of Development for the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank; Rep. Tom Mehaffie (R-Dauphin); Rep. Steven Mentzer (R-Lititz); Rep. Bryan Cutler (R-Peach Bottom), the House Majority Whip; and Dan Reisteter, Central Pennsylvania Food Bank board of directors.
In the recently enacted 2018-19 state budget, there is a line item that the members of the Lancaster Delegation lobbied heavily for and was signed into law.

The provision is to help recover perfectly edible food from farmers that would otherwise be thrown out.

Every year, Pennsylvania supports the Central PA Food Bank and the many other food banks in the Commonwealth. To make sure that funding goes as far as possible, we insisted on a line item in this year’s budget that specifically goes to help make food available to more people in need at the lowest possible cost. This is done through a recovery program administered by the Department of Agriculture called the Pennsylvania Agricultural Surplus System (PASS) program.

Here are several examples of how the PASS works.

1. An egg producer in Lancaster County realizes he has 74,000 lbs. of eggs that he cannot sell because grocery stores already have enough. Now, to do anything with them, the eggs first need to be repackaged in containers of one dozen. PASS provides the funding to repackage the eggs and then we can make these eggs available to food banks at 14 cents rather than the going rate of $1.20 per dozen.

2. An orchard over in Adams County has apples with slight imperfections. While a grocery store might forgo them because of aesthetics, they are still fine to eat or cook with. The orchard is willing to donate the apples to the food bank. PASS pays for bags while volunteers bag the apples and send them to the food banks at a cost of 17 cents per pound. If apples had to be purchased they would be over $1 per pound.

3. Dairy farmers in Lancaster and Lebanon Counties, along with other areas of the state, recently experienced a severe over-supply of milk. Instead of letting it go to waste, PASS enabled us to process this excess into cheese that has a longer shelf life than milk. This resulted in being able to provide food banks with 12-ounce packages of cheese to food banks for $2.50, a fraction of what it would be on the open market.

These are initiatives that come as second nature to most of us in the Central Pennsylvania region – no one throws out perfectly edible food that they paid good money for.

It is often said that government should live within its means just as the families all over the state must do in their household budgets.

This is the type of logic we must fight for in all areas of the state budget, whether they are large expenditures or not.

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