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Food Podcast: Why more food banks are creating government affairs departments

Oct 13, 2021

TribLIVE's Daily and Weekly email newsletters deliver the news you want and information you need, right to your inbox. On the latest episode of the Food Podcast presented by Clearview Federal Credit Union on the TribLIVE podcast network, Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank talks to a man who has played a critical role in securing food for the three rivers region. Dennis McManus is set to retire at the end of the month after serving as the Food Bank’s Government Affairs Director for the past 17 years. “When I first joined the food bank in 2004, it was pretty unusual to have someone focusing on that,” McManus says. “There is a need to have some people focused entirely on maintaining good relationships with the government, staying on top of developments within the government to identify opportunities and problems, also to push forward proactively.” McManus works with several hundred elected officials to keep them informed about what the Food Bank is doing in their districts and to advocate for public policy that would impact those living with food insecurity. While government funding is critical in programs like the Pennsylvania Senior Box program, school meals for kids and summer meal programs, McManus says government relations has a big impact on the food bank’s food supply too. “In any given year the amount of government commodity that can be food products that can be purchased with funding provided by state or federal governments, is 30% to sometimes 50% of our food,” says McManus. In addition to volunteering and donating to the food bank, McManus says he hopes more people will get involved in advocating for food resources. “This can have the same or even in some cases a larger impact on getting food resources to those in need,” says McManus. To learn more about the Food Bank, visit pittsburghfoodbank.org .

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