Public Charge Rule: Statement from Food Bank For New York City President & CEO Margarette Purvis

Media Contact:
Food Bank Media Relations

At the heart of New York’s greatness is our long-standing, welcoming stance towards immigrants from around the world. Immigrants not only make our city stronger, they provide the rich diversity, scrappiness and hustle that make us New York City. This is why in this city, our “immigrant population” is referred to as New Yorkers.

As one of our country’s most robust anti-hunger organizations, we are deeply troubled by proposed changes to the Public Charge test which would prevent thousands of New Yorkers from accessing the food, healthcare, and housing they need to survive. We strongly oppose this proposal, which represents an affront to our values of service, community, compassion, and dignity—and would have a devastating impact on New Yorkers struggling to make ends meet. If these changes become a reality, more New Yorkers will unnecessarily fall deeper into poverty and experience hunger. Already, the anti-immigrant stance found in this proposed change has instilled fear into families. The result of this fear is the avoidance of accessing vital services their children are eligible to receive.

In New York City, families visit our network of food pantries and soup kitchens as a last resort. These proposed changes to the Public Charge test would devastate our city’s emergency food network, which is already stretched thin. Local pantries and soup kitchens rely on a tremendous amount of volunteer service and donations from the community to stay afloat; more than half of these charities see federal policy changes as the greatest threat to their ability to provide nutrition to New Yorkers in need.

We urge all New Yorkers who care about their food insecure neighbors to speak out against this unjust proposal.


The comment period on “public charge” regulation has ended. Together, over 200,000 comments were delivered to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) opposing this cruel and harmful proposal. The proposed rule has not been finalized. The DHS must review and respond to every issue presented in the comments. Click the button to read Food Bank For New York City’s submitted comment.