Anti-hunger advocates celebrate increased funding in NYS budget

Anti-hunger advocates in New York scored a victory in early April when the finalized state budget included a significant bump in funding for the Hunger Prevention and Nutrition Assistance Program (HPNAP).

The program lives within the Department of Health’s budget, and helps support food banks around the state — and thousands of food pantries — with critical funding to assist with operational expenses and the purchase of food. HPNAP funding had been flat for five years before increasing by $22 million in this year’s budget — a 63% increase.

HPNAP has been around for decades. In fact, Foodlink’s founder, Tom Ferraro, was a critical advocate for the launch of the program in the 1980s.

Advocates from Feeding New York State — an assocation of 10 member food banks representing different regions of New York — banded together in support of the increase, and contacted dozens of state legislators in recent months. They also circulated a petition and collected nearly 2,000 signatures to share with Gov. Kathy Hochul and key members of the Assembly and Senate.

In addition to the HPNAP boost, advocates also were thankful for continued funding for the Nourish NY program — which helps connect New York farms with food banks, resulting in more fresh produce for food-insecure populations in every corner of the state. The program was introduced during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, and renewed in subsequent years.

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