Governor Kathy Hochul announced today 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 the following amounts to the food banks to implement their solutions: $1,455,739 to the Food Bank for New York City in the Bronx; $252,884 to the Regional Food Bank Northeastern New York in Latham; $181,753 to FeedMore Western New York in Buffalo; $171,697 to Food Bank of Central New York in Syracuse; $143,489 to Foodlink in Rochester; $123,867 to Long Island Cares in Hauppauge; $62,056 to Feeding Westchester in Elmsford; and $61,320 to Food Bank of the Southern Tier in Elmira.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said, “No New Yorker should ever have to worry about where their next meal is coming from, yet sadly millions across the state suffer from food insecurity. That is why I pushed USDA Secretary Vilsack to increase investments & bolster healthy food options across New York and why I am pleased USDA is increasing investments in The Emergency Food Assistance Program. This $2.7 million will help food banks from Buffalo to Syracuse boost their supplies and provide a critical safety net for families that are struggling to put food on the table. I will not stop fighting to bolster resources for these programs to eradicate hunger.”
Representative Paul Tonko said, “The COVID pandemic, supply chain shortages, and spiking costs have caused immense pain across our nation and left far too many families struggling to put food on the table. I’ve pushed hard to secure federal funds to address these issues and deliver our Regional Food Bank vital resources to support those in our communities who are most in need. I’m thankful for today’s announcement that will help ensure New York families do not go hungry.”
Representative Joe Morelle said, “New Yorkers should never have to worry where their next meal is coming from—but sadly, that is the reality too many families face. I applaud Governor Hochul for her commitment to reducing food insecurity by providing our hardworking local food banks with the resources they need to better reach underserved communities. I look forward to our continued work together to support these essential services and uplift families in need.”
Food Bank For NYC CEO and President Leslie Gordon said, “As a long-time TEFAP participant, Food Bank For New York City is honored to receive such a generous donation that will expand our capacity to distribute six million more pounds of fresh produce, dairy, and other refrigerated products across TEFAP-eligible member agencies in the Bronx. Before the pandemic, Bronx residents experiencing food insecurity fell short of an adequate diet by nearly 43 million meals in a single year and thanks to this grant, Food Bank will be able to increase its capacity in this borough to help safely store and distribute these products, reducing barriers of food in low-income districts while also working towards improving our capacity and infrastructure.”
Food Bank of the Southern Tier President & CEO Natasha R. Thompson said, “The Food Bank of the Southern Tier is pleased to partner with OGS on this innovative project that will help us better serve people in need, particularly those in rural communities.”
Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York Chief Executive Officer Molly Nicol said, “The Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York is both thrilled and thankful to be a recipient of the USDA’s TEFAP Reach and Resiliency Grant, which will provide critical funding to enable us to launch a Mobile Pantry Program. The Mobile Pantry will allow us to provide nutritious foods to remote, rural, and underserved areas currently without a traditional “brick and mortar” food pantry. Our goal is to increase food access and security in these remote communities, and ensure our neighbors in need have equitable access to our services, regardless of where they reside. We are incredibly grateful for Governor Hochul’s leadership and for our partnership with OGS.”
Foodlink President & CEO Julia Tedesco said, “In response to how the pandemic has impacted food insecurity in the Rochester area, Foodlink recently revamped its food distribution model, emphasizing the need for enhanced partnerships in harder-to-reach communities through our Pop-up Pantry program. We are grateful that TEFAP Reach and Resiliency Grant funding will allow us to better serve these rural communities in the Finger Lakes region of New York.”
Feeding Westchester President & 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.”
FeedMore WNY President and CEO Tara A. Ellis said, “FeedMore WNY is deeply grateful to the New York State Office of General Services and the United States Department of Agriculture for this TEFAP grant. This critical funding will enable FeedMore WNY to purchase a 26-foot refrigerated truck and hire a driver in order to safely distribute more nutritious TEFAP foods to our hunger-relief partners serving our rural neighbors in Cattaraugus and Chautauqua counties.”
Long Island Cares, Inc. CEO Paule T. Pachter said, “Long Island Cares, Inc.-The Harry Chapin Food Bank is very excited to collaborate with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the NYS Office of General Services to address the needs of our tribal residents and low-income families on Long Island that experience food insecurity. We welcome the focus on the needs of these high-risk populations who have often been underserved but often face obstacles when it comes to accessing nutritious meals. Food Banks have historically partnered with the USDA and NYSOGS to administer the Emergency Food Assistance Program in our respective regions, providing us with millions of pounds of government commodities to support our neighbors in need. This new initiative will give us the opportunity to deliver even more healthy meals to our neighbors at a time when we are experiencing a 35% increase in the number of Long Islanders turning to the regional food bank for support.”