Government trade mitigation food program creates more burden than help

Pat Loeb
January 21, 2019 - 4:00 am
Philadelphia food banks have begun receiving their share of what the federal government is calling "trade mitigation food." That's food the government is purchasing from farmers who've been hurt by the trade war.

Pat Loeb/KYW Newsradio

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Philadelphia food banks have begun receiving their share of what the federal government is calling "trade mitigation food." That's food the government is purchasing from farmers who've been hurt by the trade war. 

But it's not the most helpful program for food banks. 

The food comes into a warehouse run by the nonprofit SHARE, which then sends it out to 500 food pantries. Government and community programs manager Samantha Mogil says SHARE's mission is to feed people, so it's doing everything it can to get the food to the people who need it.

But it's not easy.

"A lot of times this food is coming in outside of the designated distribution time, which makes it a logistical nightmare, almost, to really distribute it because you have to remember that our food pantries are volunteer-run. And we just have to get on the phone and call food pantries and say, 'we have this product, can you come pick it up?' and they can't always do that," Mogil said.

The food so far has been perishable, so it can't be stored. 

And it's an odd assortment - pallets and pallets of grapes, for example. They also get a lot of pork, which many people don't eat. 

"I don't just go home and eat grapes for dinner. So we haven't been receiving food that would actually feed a family in a complete or responsible or healthy way," Mogil added.

She says the program has created a burden and so far, there have been no additional funds to help deal with the costs.