Food Bank Responds to Federal Government’s Changes to “Public Charge” Rule

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Food Bank Media Relations

“This Proposal Is The Latest Attempt To Intimidate Immigrants And Their Families – It Would Lead To Thousands More New Yorkers Going Hungry Every Day.” —Food Bank VP, Dr. Camesha Grant

NEW YORK CITY — Today, the Trump Administration released a harmful rule that threatens to increase hunger in New York City. The rule targets immigrant community members and would deny green cards to those who access Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and other benefits. The so-called “Public Charge” rule would not only punish people who are following a pathway to seek legal permanent residence, but also scare people away from seeking food and other vital needs.

In response, Camesha Grant, Vice President for Community Connections & Reach at Food Bank For New York City issued the following statement:

“The policies coming out of the federal government are already having a chilling effect on some of our most vulnerable neighbors, scaring them away from SNAP and other vital resources like shelter and healthcare. This rule is the latest attempt to intimidate immigrants and their families—it would lead to thousands more New Yorkers going hungry every day. 

“Without SNAP—our city’s first line of defense against hunger—New Yorkers would be forced to turn to our network of emergency food providers more often. These providers are already stretched thin: they serve 1 in 5 New Yorkers and more than half run out of food before the end of the month. The strenuous efforts of the nonprofit sector are not sufficient to make up the funding gap created by bad public policy.

“This change to the public charge rule will lead to longer lines and empty shelves at soup kitchens and food pantries across the city.”


  • In NYC, SNAP benefits provides more meals in less than 2 months than every soup kitchen and food pantry combined is able to provide all year.
  • Current average SNAP benefits cover about 2 weeks’ worth of food for most households.
  • A recent survey of NYC’s emergency food network found 81% of soup kitchens and food pantries see federal policy changes as significant threat to their ability to serve New Yorkers in need.
  • Additional research shows that more than half of New York City’s soup kitchens and food pantries (54%) report running out of food.
  • 1.6 million New Yorkers rely on SNAP: In the Bronx, 1 in 3 residents relies on SNAP, in Brooklyn 1 in 4 relies on SNAP, and in Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island, 1 in 7 relies on SNAP.
  • Already, as reported by NYC’s Human Resources Administration, 25,000 eligible New Yorkers have un-enrolled from SNAP food assistance due to fear of this federal policy.


About Food Bank For New York City:

Food Bank For New York City has been the city’s major hunger-relief organization working to end hunger throughout the five boroughs for over 35 years. Nearly one in five New Yorkers relies on Food Bank for food and other resources. Food Bank takes a strategic, multifaceted approach that provides meals and builds capacity in the neediest communities, while raising awareness and engagement among all New Yorkers. Through its network of more than 1,000 charities and schools citywide, Food Bank provides food for more than 58 million free meals for New Yorkers in need. Food Bank For New York City’s income support services, including food stamps (also known as SNAP) and free tax assistance for the working poor, put more than $150 million each year into the pockets of New Yorkers, helping them to afford food and achieve greater dignity and independence. In addition, Food Bank’s nutrition education programs and services empower more than 50,000 children, teens and adults to sustain a healthy diet on a low budget. To learn more about how you can help, please visit Follow us on Facebook (FoodBank4NYC), Twitter (@FoodBank4NYC) and Instagram (FoodBank4NYC).

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