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Duquesne-based food bank to be venue for legislative programs

| Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013, 3:46 a.m.
Food bank personnel Jason Lostetter of McKeesport, Stan Patterson of Rostraver Township, CEO Lisa Scales and Pat Markey of Munhall have a busy week ahead.
Patrick Clooonan | Daily News
Food bank personnel Jason Lostetter of McKeesport, Stan Patterson of Rostraver Township, CEO Lisa Scales and Pat Markey of Munhall have a busy week ahead.

Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank in Duquesne is getting a lot of attention this week.

On Thursday afternoon, U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Scranton, will take a tour of the facility and hold a brief meeting with food bank officials.

Today at 9:30 a.m., the state House Majority Policy Committee is scheduled to join two members of the House minority party caucus at two events dealing with issues of hunger and food security for low-income Pennsylvanians.

Committee chairman Dave Reed, R-Indiana, said participants will include Rep. Marc Gergely, D-White Oak, who represents Duquesne, and Rep. Jake Wheatley, D-Pittsburgh, co-chair of the Pennsylvania Legislative Hunger Caucus with Sen. Mike Brubaker, R-Lancaster County.

The caucus has more than 80 members, including Gergely; Rep. Bill Kortz, D-Dravosburg; and Sens. Jay Costa Jr., D-Forest Hills, and Timothy Solobay, D-Canonsburg.

Reed said there will be a volunteer opportunity at the food bank, followed by a discussion that will be part of an initiative “Empowering Opportunities: Gateways Out of Poverty.”

“It has been a half-century since President Lyndon B. Johnson first announced his War on Poverty, yet today we continue to see far too many Pennsylvania families struggling to merely make ends meet,” Reed said last month. “After decades of efforts, the development of countless government programs and billions of tax dollars spent, it is time we begin to truly re-evaluate government's approach to fighting poverty.”

On the federal level, Casey earlier this month joined Sens. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and Jerry Moran, R-Kan., in introducing a bill that would expand tax incentives to prompt restaurants, grocery stores and farmers to donate excess food.

An aim of the bill is to cut into an estimated 70 billion pounds of food that goes to waste annually.

In May Casey helped GPCFB and other food-related agencies to launch Feeding Pennsylvania at a meeting in Wilkes-Barre.

“Hunger is an unfortunate reality for too many Pennsylvanians, and every day, our food banks are answering the call for help by providing critically needed food supplies to tens of thousands of our neighbors.

Nine food banks participated in the launch, including Greater Pittsburgh and the Delmont-based Westmoreland County Food Bank.

“Through the work of Feeding Pennsylvania, these food banks will help to call public attention to the critical issue of hunger and advance anti-hunger efforts so that no family has to wonder where their next meal will come from,” Casey said.

Patrick Cloonan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161 ext. 1967, or pcloonan@tribweb.com.

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