One World Trade Center, Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge, Kosciuszko Bridge, SUNY Plaza, State Education Building and New York State Fair Exposition Building to be Illuminated This Evening
Hunger Action Month Participation Builds on State's Actions to Combat Hunger
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced One World Trade Center, the Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge, the Kosciuszko Bridge, SUNY Plaza, the State Education Building and the Great New York State Fair's Exposition Center will be lit orange this evening, September 12, in recognition of Hunger Action Month. New York State has long been committed to the fight against hunger, launching several groundbreaking initiatives and programs in recent years, including the Council on Hunger and Food Policy, Vital Brooklyn and the No Student Goes Hungry initiative, to combat hunger, improve access to healthy, locally grown foods and bring New York-grown foods and beverages to underserved communities.
"Too many families struggle to put food on the table, and in New York we are using comprehensive programs to help ensure all New Yorkers have access to healthy, nutritious meals," Governor Cuomo said. "Lighting these landmarks orange on Hunger Action Day will serve as a reminder that all New Yorkers can find ways to offer a helping hand to combat hunger."
The Governor established the Council on Hunger and Food Policy in 2016 to expand on the State's existing programs to provide food assistance for New Yorkers in need. The Council works across various State agencies and sectors, identifying new policies and programs to improve access to healthy, locally grown food across New York State and to help strengthen ties and cooperation between programs addressing hunger and those who produce and supply food. The Council has supported many creative efforts to combat food insecurity and hunger, including helping farmers donate foods through food banks and increasing the use of healthy and locally grown foods in school meals.
The Council advocated for the tax credit for farmers donating to food banks, which was signed into law by Governor Cuomo in 2017, to compensate farmers for costs associated with harvesting, packaging and distributing local products to eligible food pantries, food banks and other emergency food programs across the state. Increased donations are helping to meet the growing demand for fresh, healthful foods in underserved communities across New York.
In addition, the Governor launched the groundbreaking No Student Goes Hungry Initiative with support from the Council. This comprehensive program expands access to free breakfast, ends lunch shaming and increases the reimbursement schools receive for lunches for any district that purchases at least 30 percent ingredients from New York farms, helping to ensure students in kindergarten through college receive access to farm-fresh foods.
Through the Vital Brooklyn initiative, the State is also bringing healthy food to residents of Central Brooklyn, one of the most disadvantaged areas of the State. Since the launch of Vital Brooklyn, New York State has invested nearly $2 million and launched new programs and initiatives to increase access to nutritious food in Central Brooklyn, including the mobile markets program, food insecurity screening for seniors, youth run farmers' markets, community gardens and a food distribution hub siting study.
These recent efforts build on New York State's aggressive actions to relieve hunger for thousands of New Yorkers. Many of the programs and legislation adopted by the State strategically use local resources to provide greater access to healthier meal options.
The State, under the direction of the Governor, also expanded the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), extending eligibility to more families, eliminating unnecessary requirements and simplifying the application process. The Hunger Prevention and Nutrition Assistance Program (HPNAP) has been extended through 2020, and the State's FreshConnect program and New York State's Farm-to-School Program have also been expanded. Together, these programs bring farm-fresh foods to underserved communities, increase the buying power of SNAP recipients and assist schools and other organizations with buying and serving homegrown foods to students.
The State is partnering with the Council on Hunger and Food Policy as well as local food banks across the State during Hunger Action Month to continue to increase awareness about this important issue.