September 16, 2021
Albany, NY

Governor Hochul Announces State Actions in Recognition of Hunger Action Month

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Governor Hochul Announces State Actions in Recognition of Hunger Action Month
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Launch of Nourish New York's $25 Million Fourth Round Will Continue to Deliver Food to Families in Need and Support New York Farmers

State Landmarks to be Lit in Orange in Recognition of Hunger Action Day, September 17, 2021

Food Banks Statewide to Honor Hunger Action Month with Food Distributions, Food Drives and More

Governor Kathy Hochul today announced state actions taking place across New York in recognition of Hunger Action Month, which is observed each September to raise awareness about food insecurity and bolster the fight against hunger. The fourth round of the Nourish New York program launched this month with an additional $25 million distributed to New York's network of emergency food providers to bring New York food products to those in need. This brings the total funding for the program to $85 million since its launch during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Governor also announced that state landmarks will be lit in orange on Hunger Action Day, which takes place on Friday, September 17, to raise awareness of this important issue and to pledge New York's continued commitment to combat hunger in our communities. Food banks statewide will also honor the month with a series of food distributions, food drives and more, giving New Yorkers an opportunity to get involved.

"Food insecurity has only intensified over the difficult past year and a half that we've all faced together, and too many New Yorkers are finding it challenging to put food on the table," Governor Hochul said. "New York State continues to lead the way combating hunger in our communities, and we're stepping up this Hunger Action Month to raise awareness and make sure that more New Yorkers can feed their families. I encourage everyone to take part in Hunger Action Month, support their communities and contribute to helping New Yorkers recover from the devastating effects of this terrible pandemic."

Nourish New York

The fourth round of the Nourish New York initiative launched this month, allowing New York's emergency food providers to continue to purchase surplus products from New York farmers and dairy manufacturers to deliver to New York families in need through the end of the year, including the holiday season. Since its launch during the height of the pandemic in May 2020, Nourish New York has helped New York's network of food banks and emergency food providers purchase more than 35 million pounds of food from local farmers and delivered more than 29 million meals to communities across the state.

Funding for this fourth round of the program, which was passed as part of the 2021-22 New York State Budget, will be reallocated to participating food banks and emergency food providers through contracts extending to December 31, 2021. Emergency food providers can spend the money allocated to them by:

  • Setting up food-drive through events/giveaways;
  • Distributing dairy vouchers that can be redeemed in grocery stores for products like cheese, yogurt, milk, sour cream, and butter, throughout the state, and/or;
  • Purchasing products directly from New York dairy/food manufacturers for their feeding programs.

A total of $85 million has been invested in Nourish New York to date through four rounds of funding. The program provides funds directly to the state's emergency food providers to help them buy New York agricultural products, such as milk, yogurt, cheese, cottage cheese, and produce, meat, seafood, and eggs. It also funds the delivery of these goods to New Yorkers through large drive-through distributions, food box and school meal programs, food pantries, and soup kitchens.  In addition, the program supports the state's farmers and producers who lost markets for their products due to the pandemic. Through the food banks' purchases, 4,178 farms have been impacted.

State Landmarks Lit in Orange

State landmarks will be lit orange on Friday, September 17, in recognition of Hunger Action Day and Hunger Action Month. New York State is lighting its landmarks in orange for hunger awareness for the third consecutive year. Orange was the color of the first food stamps and is used to represent hunger awareness by hunger relief organizations and others.

The state landmarks that will be lit orange in recognition of Hunger Action Month are below:

  • Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge
  • Kosciuszko Bridge
  • H. Carl McCall SUNY Building
  • State Education Building
  • Alfred E. Smith State Office Building
  • State Fairgrounds - Main Gate & Expo Center
  • Niagara Falls
  • Albany International Airport Gateway
  • Grand Central Terminal - Pershing Square Viaduct
  • Lake Placid Olympic Jumping Complex
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt Mid-Hudson Bridge
  • MTA LIRR - East End Gateway at Penn Station
  • One World Trade Center

New York State has long been committed to the fight against hunger. The State has launched several groundbreaking 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.

The Council on Hunger and Food Policy convenes to provide state policymakers with expertise on how to address hunger and improve access to healthy, locally-grown food for New York State residents. Most recently, the work of the Council was critical during the establishment of the Nourish New York program, having worked for several years to strengthen ties and cooperation between programs addressing hunger and those who produce and supply food.

Food Distribution Events

Additionally, many of New York State's 10 regional food banks are each recognizing Hunger Action Month in their own way this month, giving New Yorkers a great opportunity to get involved on the ground in their own communities. Planned activities include a series of food distributions, food drives, and other events, such as Feedmore Western New York, which is promoting the lighting of local landmarks including Niagara Falls and the Electric Tower. Many food banks, such as Feeding Westchester, are also partnering with local nonprofit organizations to host in-person and virtual fundraisers in their areas. Food banks are also encouraging New Yorkers to wear orange on Hunger Action Day and post to social media to raise awareness of the cause.

Those interested in finding food or in volunteering with their local food bank can visit the Feeding New York State website to learn more.

State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, "Hunger Action Month is a great time to raise awareness of food insecurity in New York State and to keep fighting our way forward to greater food access for all. New York has taken decisive action to combat food insecurity, from our Nourish New York program, which is successfully connecting the dots between our farmers and our families who face continued food insecurity, to our great network of food banks that work so hard to get food on tables statewide. I thank Governor Hochul and the legislature for supporting the continuation of the Nourish New York program, which has clearly made a lasting impact on our agricultural community and our neighbors, and encourage all New Yorkers to lend a hand to their neighbors this month, and all year round."

Senator Michelle Hinchey said, "Every New Yorker, no matter where they live or their financial means, deserves access to healthy, fresh food. The COVID-19 pandemic and the economic challenges that followed have made New York's hunger crisis even worse as more families across our state became newly dependent on their local food bank. During this unimaginably dark moment, the Nourish New York program emerged as an innovative solution to put food on the table for families in need while providing our hardworking farmers — many of whom have struggled to stay in business because of pandemic-related financial losses — with a new avenue to sell their products. Today, thanks to an additional investment of $25 million, Nourish New York can continue to be that beacon of compassionate assistance for New Yorkers who have fallen on hard times. I thank Governor Hochul for raising awareness on the critical importance of Hunger Action Month and for taking actionable steps to combat food insecurity in our communities. I look forward to our continued partnership to build a more resilient food system for New Yorkers in every corner of our great state."

Assemblymember Donna Lupardo said, "I'd like to thank Governor Hochul for recognizing Hunger Action Month in this way. Continuing support for the Nourish NY program addresses ongoing food insecurity, while also supporting our farmers who are also struggling. Food banks, food drives, and distribution centers have all played a critically important role helping families in times of need. Making the connection with our agricultural sector has not only provided needed supplies, it has also built valuable relationships across the state, for which I am very grateful."

New York Farm Bureau President Dave Fisher said, "Nourish NY continues to be a great program benefiting both New York's farmers and people in need of fresh food produced right here in our state. The additional funding will provide easy access to locally sourced food, including dairy products, and ensure continued market opportunities for the farm community as our state rebounds from a challenging year. New York Farm Bureau commends the ongoing support by the governor and state legislature for this valuable program."

Feeding NYS Executive Director Dan Egan said, "Nourish New York continues to provide crucial support to New Yorkers at risk of hunger. The nutritional shortfall for low-income New Yorkers is significant, and Nourish New York program provides top-quality New York-raised food to address this shortfall. Nourish New York has connected farmers, food banks and the hungry in an efficient and productive program. We look forward to an eventual full recovery of New York's agricultural sector and food industry; continued support for that recovery will be critical."

Food Bank For New York City President and CEO Leslie Gordon said, "We're proud to partner with our State leaders who are dedicated to connecting New Yorkers to essential food resources with programs like Nourish New York that continue to fortify our incredible network of food pantries and soup kitchens. We know that fighting food insecurity across our State relies on the leadership of elected officials year-round and we invite all New Yorkers to connect with and support their local food banks this Hunger Action Month and beyond."

Food Bank of Central New York Executive Director Karen Belcher said, "Food Bank of Central New York works every day to feed the hungry. Funding through Nourish New York is an opportunity to continue to help people in our communities through food distributions of dairy, produce, and other agricultural items. During our 36-year history, we have created strong agricultural partnerships and the Nourish New York Initiative highlights those relationships. We appreciate the continued support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets during Hunger Action Month and throughout the year as we continue to navigate the economic impacts that the pandemic has created."

Contact the Governor's Press Office

Contact us by phone:

Albany: (518) 474-8418
New York City: (212) 681-4640

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