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State Emergency Food and SNAP Get Funding Boost

January 5, 2009

Following a year of unprecedented demand for emergency food, Governor David Paterson announced $1 million in new funding for regional food banks across the state. The funds are intended to provide stopgap support to struggling food programs ahead of 2009 budget funding, which goes into effect on April 1. Governor Paterson’s proposed budget includes a $4.4 million budget increase for emergency food programs in the coming year, despite Paterson’s slashing of state funds for soup kitchens and food pantries several times in 2008.

Paterson also announced an increase of over $364 million in federal funding for the state’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (or SNAP, formerly known as the food stamps program) in the next 15 months, in order to better serve the record 2.1 million New Yorkers receiving SNAP benefits.

Governor Paterson continues to push for the senate to pass the 2009 budget by March 1 (one month ahead of the usual deadline) in order to provide more immediately help vulnerable New Yorkers in these economically challenging times.

Said Governor Paterson, “by contributing to the overall health and well-being of society during this recession, we can also help generate increased activity in our State and national economy, placing New York on a path towards economic recovery.”

New York anti-hunger groups have consistently called on Paterson to increase state funding for emergency food throughout the current recession. It remains to be seen whether these funding increases can patch the holes left by Paterson’s cuts to the Hunger Prevention Nutrition Assistance Program (HPNAP) and other state funding programs.

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