FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 20, 2008

Schumer Announces Food Donation Bill To Help Feed NY's Residents In Need Signed Into Law

Schumer-led Bill Encourages Federally-Owned Entities Across NYS to Donate Excess Food to Nonprofits Focused on Providing Assistance to Residents in Need Law to Help Over 300,000 Upstate New York Households at Risk of Going Hungry

Today, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer announced that his bill to ramp-up federal efforts to provide additional food to those in need was signed into law on June 19, 2008. Last year, Senator Schumer revealed that over 300,000 Upstate New York households are at risk of going hungry and pushed for a bill that will encourage federal buildings to provide excess food to nonprofit organizations that provide assistance to food-insecure residents.

 

“This is terrific news for the thousands of residents across Upstate New York who go to bed hungry at night,” Schumer said. “The scourge of hunger does not discriminate and this bill will go a long way towards attacking this problem at its core. This program is a step in the right direction and will give non-profit organizations the resources they need to feed the hungry in their neighborhood.”

 

It is estimated that across Upstate NY there are an estimated 312,000 food insecure households. In 2006, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimated 35.5 million Americans – including 12.6 million children – lived in households that couldn’t afford an adequate supply of food, according to food insecurity data released today by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Nearly 10% of households in upstate New York are considered to be food insecure. 

 

Food insecurity is defined as a lack of basic food intake required to provide the nutrients and energy necessary to lead a healthy and productive life.  Food insecurity can be a temporary phase or a chronic problem.  Food insecure households are most commonly found in urban or rural areas, and are often female-headed, single-parent households living below the poverty line.  With dairy and other food prices on the rise, it is estimated that 10% of New Yorkers do not always have enough money to meet their most basic nutritional needs. 

 

Furthermore, while federal programs, such as food stamps, provide much-needed assistance to people who would otherwise not have enough money to feed themselves and their families, such programs do not adjust for certain factors unique to the region, such as New York’s high-cost environment.  The state-run Hunger Prevention and Nutrition Assistance Program (HPNAP) helps to fill this gap by supporting soup kitchens, food pantries and emergency shelters throughout New York.  However, as Senator Schumer revealed last month, an alarming number of New York food banks are reporting empty shelves and budget crises.  Below is regional data on food insecurity in upstate New York.

 

The Capital Region has an estimated 39,463 food-insecure households.  Last year, HPNAP served over 3.4 million meals to 877,072 people in the Capital Region, including 210,700 children and 70,992 elderly people.

 

Central New York has an estimated 36,075 food-insecure households.  Last year, HPNAP served over 5.2 million meals to 1,235,744 people in Central New York, including 273,644 children and 90,696 elderly people.

 

The Rochester-Finger Lakes Region has an estimated 47,795 food-insecure households.  Last year, HPNAP served over 5.1 million meals to 1,422,154 people in the Rochester-Finger Lakes Region, including 333,520 children and 80,694 elderly people.

 

The Hudson Valley has an estimated 81,506 food-insecure households.  Last year, HPNAP served over 10.5 million meals to 1,992,764 people in the Hudson Valley, including 595,824 children and 167,729 elderly people.

 

The North Country has an estimated 20,682 food-insecure households.  Last year, HPNAP served over 3 million meals to 432,995 people in the North Country, including 131,444 children and 49,730 elderly people.

 

The Southern Tier has an estimated 25,509 food-insecure households.  Last year, HPNAP served over 3.8 million meals to 554,953 people in the Southern Tier, including 178,762 children and 69,270 elderly people.

 

Western New York has an estimated 60,830 food-insecure households.  Last year, HPNAP served over 7.5 million meals to 1,485,902 people in Western New York, including 387,886 children and 174,921 elderly people.

 

Schumer today announced that his bill to encourage Federal executive agencies and their contractors, as well as military bases and their contractors, to donate excess wholesome food to feed food-insecure people in the United States was signed into law by President Bush on June 19, 2008.  The bill will encourage the donation of excess food to nonprofit organizations that provide assistance to food-insecure people in the United States such as food pantries and soup kitchens.

 

In Upstate New York, Schumer pointed to federal buildings such as courthouses, federal reserves and military bases as all potential participants in the program. Schumer’s office identified at least 67 buildings and military bases across Upstate New York that could participate in the program.

 

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