Merski, Harkins: $430,000 in grant funding to support Erie fresh food providers

ERIE, Sept. 17 – Grant funding of $430,000 will help two important Erie food retailers continue supplying the community with fresh, nutritious meat, produce and other staples, state Reps. Bob Merski and Pat Harkins, both D-Erie, announced today.

The lawmakers said the funding, awarded under the Fresh Food Financing Initiative and funded by the federal CARES Act, includes $350,000 to Gordon’s Market LLC and $80,000 to Whole Foods Cooperative.

“When the pandemic arrived, local retailers providing fresh, perishable food faced unprecedented obstacles, including revenue shortfalls, supply storages and transportation issues,” Merski said. “Securing this funding is going to help fortify these important local businesses and provide the resources they need to adapt to changing conditions so they can continue to be there to serve our communities.”

Harkins agreed, saying: “Access to nutrition is more important than ever as the pandemic strains budgets for small businesses and families alike. Securing this funding is going to help families – and particularly lower-income households – maintain that vital link to the fresh, healthy food that helps residents stave off illness and stay strong through trying times.”

The funding is part of a package of $10 million in funding to 115 retailers in 39 counties. Grocery stores, cooperative entities, farmers’ markets and other eligible profit and nonprofit entities may use the funding for COVID-19 mitigation efforts, refrigeration equipment, mobile market expansion, offsetting the higher cost of goods and transportation, online marketing efforts and other pandemic-related expenses.

Priority was given to businesses located in and serving low-income communities.

More information on the grants is available here.