Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today encouraged New Yorkers to make a donation to their regional food bank, which helps to feed people in nearby communities who are struggling to afford healthy meals. The state's eight regional food banks -- which support thousands of local hunger relief programs across the state -- are expecting increased demand for assistance in light of recent federal changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
"With the combination of cuts to the federal SNAP program and an approaching winter season, it is more important than ever that New Yorkers support their local food bank," Governor Cuomo said. "New York's food banks serve a variety of vulnerable populations across the state, including senior citizens, individuals with disabilities, and low income families -- many of whom have already been impacted by federal SNAP reductions. By purchasing a few extra items to donate when grocery shopping, we can all do our part to put food on the table of those in need this holiday season."
Beginning on November 1, monthly SNAP benefits were reduced for more than 3.1 million New Yorkers due to the expiration of a temporary increase that was implemented nationally as part of the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The specific amount of the decrease varies by household and is based on a variety of factors. For example, the maximum monthly benefit for a family of four has been reduced by $36 per month.
Last year, New York's eight regional food banks supported 2,500 food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, and other emergency feeding programs across the state, ultimately helping to feed more than three million people. Many of these hunger relief organizations are already having difficulty keeping up with increased demand for assistance, a problem that will only be exacerbated by the federal reductions to SNAP benefits. According to the Hunger Action Network of New York State, 81 percent of the state's emergency food programs reported an increase in the number of individuals served in 2012, roughly one third of who were children.