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Policy Papers

The Food Bank's policy papers use data from our research to inform public policy at the city, state and federal levels. These publications are instrumental to our ongoing efforts to raise hunger awareness and our government relations, which aim to spur action within the legislative and policy communities to decrease food poverty in our city.


Research Brief:  Abundant in Heart, Short on Resources

Need and Opportunity at NYC Food Pantries

When an unprecedented, across-the-board reduction in benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps) went into effect on November 1, 2013 – a date now known as the “Hunger Cliff” – food pantries and soup kitchens across the city reported an immediate and widespread increase in visitor traffic. Nearly two years later, in September 2015, 90 percent of food pantries and soup kitchens were still experiencing increased visitor traffic, and approximately half (49 percent) reported having run out of food that month.

Tens of thousands of New Yorkers stand at the precipice of a second Hunger Cliff: on April 1, 2016, non-disabled, childless adults who rely on SNAP will lose those benefits if they have been jobless since the start of the year – regardless of their ability to afford food.

Read the research brief


Research Brief:  Hunger Cliff NYC

Bridging a City's Monthly 5.3 Million Meal Loss

Nearly two years after the "Hunger Cliff," an unprecedented across-the-board benefit reduction for Supplemental Nutrition Program (SNAP, formerly known as Food Stamps), this report offers a snapshot of the longer-term changes in demand at food pantries and soup kitchens in New York City.

Read the Research Brief Food Bank crown_small black Read 2016 Policy Priorities


White Paper: The Meal Gap Under the Microscope

New York City Families at the intersection of Food & Financial Insecurity

Research shows that financial capability and food security are linked; even at low incomes, families that are better able to manage household finances are less likely to experience food insecurity.

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The Hunger Cliff One Year Later: 56 million meals lost and need for emergency food remains high

Nearly 1.8 million New York City residents (approximately one in five) rely on the nation’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance program (SNAP, formerly known as Food Stamps). When across-the-board cuts to SNAP benefits went into effect on November 1, 2013, more than a million households in New York City lost, on average, nearly $18 per month in benefits. The food pantries and soup kitchens in Food Bank For New York City’s citywide network reported immediate and widespread increases in visitor traffic that month. Nearly one year later, has this increased need been sustained, or was it a one-time phenomenon?

Read the Research Brief Food Bank crown_small black Read 2015 Policy Priorities


Research Brief: Visitor Traffic Increases at Emergency Food Providers Post-SNAP Cuts

What changes in visitor traffic did the food pantries and soup kitchens in Food Bank For New York City’s citywide network see after the SNAP cuts went into effect November 1? To answer this question, Food Bank surveyed food pantries and soup kitchens across the five boroughs about demand at their sites in November 2013, compared to immediately preceding months and to November 2012. The findings presented in this research brief provide a snapshot into the new levels of need that have confronted New York City’s emergency food network within the first month of these sweeping cuts to SNAP.

Research Brief


NYC on the Edge of a Hunger Cliff

This policy brief analyzes the effect of pending and potential cuts to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits on New York City within the analytical framework of the meal gap – the expression of a food budget shortfall as a number of meals.  This analysis finds that the SNAP cuts under current consideration by Congress have the potential to increase New York City's meal gap to 442 million meals or more – nearly double the current meal gap.
Policy Brief



The Need for Nutrition in Food Banks
Amid an economic crisis, more people are experiencing food insecurity and turning to emergency food programs to help make ends meet. Amid an obesity epidemic, more people are turning to nutrition experts and research to support behavior change and to combat this epidemic and its impact on society. The common ground of these two problems is in the emergency food supply. The challenge at the Food Bank For New York City is to balance these two concerns and address both hunger and obesity through our network of community-based member programs. This white paper looks to establish why the Food Bank considers nutrition quality in the food purchased and provided to the emergency food programs in New York City.
Full Report

Child Hunger: The Unhealthy Return on Missed Investments
New York City children are particularly vulnerable to food poverty, and several indicators show food poverty among children in New York City is on the rise. More than one out of every four New York City children lives below the poverty level — and more than one in five relies on a soup kitchen or food pantry for food. Insufficient incomes, rising prices and lack of access to nutritious food all contribute to food poverty, and children end up suffering consequences including poor health, increasing rates of diet-related diseases such as obesity and diabetes and low educational achievement.
Full Report Food Bank crown_small black Summary

Anti-Hunger Policy Platform for New York State and City 2007–2012
Developed during a series of 2006 meetings held by a collective of city and state anti-hunger organizations, the platform addresses specific city, state and federal hunger-related policies and funding. Focus areas identified include emergency food funding; access to and availability of government nutrition-assistance programs; and long-term solutions, including the development of city- and statewide offices of food, hunger and nutrition policy. The platform expresses a unified voice on hunger policy and represents a coalition of groups determined to eliminate hunger and ensure that all New Yorkers have access to affordable, nutritious food. There are currently more than 100 organizations and individuals signed on in support of the Anti-Hunger Policy Platform.
SIGN ON as an organization or an individual — you can make a difference in the efforts to implement the platform's proposals!
Full Report Food Bank crown_small black Federal Policy Booklet Food Bank crown_small black Federal Policy Summary Food Bank crown_small black Proposals Summary

Growing Up Hungry in New York City: An Analysis of Hunger Among Children
As poverty among children continues to rise, immediate attention must be placed on ensuring the availability, accessibility and affordability of a safe and nutritious food supply for this population. The lack of access to healthy foods, increases in health- and nutrition-related diseases and the underutilization of government-funded child nutrition programs speaks to this need. This paper addresses which socioeconomic populations are growing up hungry, the need for emergency food, what support systems are available and what is needed to reverse recent health trends.
Full Report Food Bank crown_small black Fact_Sheet

Hunger: An Aging Issue
As the city braces for huge growth in its elderly population, the time is right to explore the causes of and answers to elderly hunger. This paper examines the strength of the public safety net for the elderly; the socioeconomic circumstances of elderly currently turning to EFPs; incomes and basic living costs of people ages 65 or older; and government assistance programs targeting this population. Recommendations are made regarding policy changes needed to ensure that soup kitchen and food pantry lines do not grow out of control.
Full Report Food Bank crown_small black Fact Sheet

Borough Hunger Task Force Strategy Papers 2005
The Borough Hunger Task Force Strategy Papers 2005 is the first publication to come out of the Borough Hunger Task Force Initiative — which was launched at the NYC Hunger Summit 2005, the first-ever policy summit focused on strengthening the emergency food network's ability to organize and develop strategies for eliminating hunger in the long term. The Borough Hunger Task Force Strategy Papers 2005 collects the individual reports produced by five borough-specific task force groups — which include emergency food providers and participants, donors, media, elected and appointed government officials and other stakeholders — to address research findings and develop strategies to strengthen local borough-based responses to hunger.
Full Report Food Bank crown_small black More on the Initiative

For more information on our policy papers, contact Triada Stampas, Director of Government Relations & Public Education.

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