New Strategies at Food Banks Will Provide a Strengthened Safety Net for the Food Insecure
Governor Kathy Hochul recently announced that New York State has been awarded $2.7 million in Reach and Resiliency grant funds from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to expand The Emergency Food Assistance Program’s reach into remote, rural, Tribal, and low-income areas currently underserved by the program. The grant is part of the USDA’s Build Back Better initiative to support and expand the country’s emergency food network so that food banks and local organizations can reliably serve their communities.
“We have a moral obligation to break down the logistic and stigmatic barriers that block access to nutritious, culturally-relevant food for those who need it the most,” Governor Hochul said. “I’m inspired by the creative strategies the food banks will employ to support food insecure New Yorkers, and we will continue to take bold action to ensure no New Yorker ever goes hungry.”
“Food instability is one of the most troubling issues facing many low-income New Yorkers across the state,” said Lieutenant Governor Antonio Delgado. “The federal Reach and Resiliency grant will help put food on the table for many New York families in some of our most remote communities and underserved areas and help stock our food banks and local charities.”
The Office of General Services’ USDA Food Distribution group will administer the grant through its agreements with eight regional food banks that serve the entire State. Under the OGS agreements, the food banks distributed more than 90 million pounds of USDA foods in 2021 through their network of more than 2,700 organizations that faced increased demands for food during the pandemic.
Collectively, the food banks will establish and increase the use of mobile and pop-up food pantries; facilitate custom ordering to increase the delivery of culturally relevant foods; purchase a refrigerated truck and hire more drivers to transport TEFAP food; expand a commercial cooler and purchase refrigerators, freezers, and shelves to store more TEFAP food safely; and establish and fortify relationships in underserved communities to enable broader access to TEFAP foods for the food insecure in remote, rural, Tribal, and low-income areas.
Office of General Services Commissioner Jeanette Moy said, “OGS’s long-standing relationships with the food banks enable us to effectively supplement the nutritional needs of New York’s most vulnerable populations in all reaches of the state. Our dedicated staff help ensure the food banks distribute TEFAP foods equitably and expeditiously to locations throughout New York State. With Governor Hochul’s leadership and the food banks’ partnerships, OGS is proud to help close the hunger gap in New York.”
OGS will retain a small amount of the grant funds to cover its costs of oversight and monitoring and provide $62,056 to Feeding Westchester in Elmsford to implement their solutions.
Feeding Westchester President and CEO Karen C. Erren said, “The Westchester County community is increasingly diverse. It is important to all of us at Feeding Westchester that the food we provide the community reflects that cultural variety. It is also a priority that we provide a safe, nurturing, and celebratory culture internally that allows each team member to thrive. These are two components of our DEI work. We are so appreciative of this grant that will help us fund this critical initiative and increase the impact of the food we provide to our neighbors in need.”