Frontline Community Food Providers Are Subject Matter Experts in Food Policy Effectiveness

We know what shortens the lines and feeds our guests

All the way through the food supply chain, community food providers are the last stop in the fight against hunger.

We see how many people are in our lines, we feel the struggle of getting enough food to feed the line.

  • Shorten the Line- We can measure the effectiveness of policy that can prevent food insecurity in the first place by seeing the number of people in our lines.
  • Feed the People in the Line- Our ability to feed our guests is reflective of the policy that funds the emergency food providers, both operationally and to purchase food.
  • Both Food supply chain disruptions, inflation, and overall price increases that affect access to food, applies extra pressure to anyone with a limited budget, such as frontline food providers and consumers who are vulnerable to food insecurity.

Please submit information about your experience

 

Frontline Community Food Providers are seeing the effects of policy or lack there of every day. The Alliance for a Hunger Free New York uses quotes, data, and statistics with the community and key policymakers to illustrate the needs of our coalition even when we’re all taking inventory and making deliveries.

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    Some ideas for what you could share

    1. How can your work/experience illustrate the gravity of the existing hunger crisis?
      1. What barriers to accessing food have you seen among clients who are working?
      2. What barriers to accessing food have you seen among clients who are college students?
      3. What barriers to accessing food have you seen among clients who are immigrants?
      4. What barriers have you seen among your clients in preparing food? (Access to cooking equipment, access to time to prepare food, choices made due to those realities)
    2. How has increased need for food affected your work?
      1. Who is the need from?
      2. What are barriers to serving the new influx of demand?
      3. How has inflation affected your service?
      4. How have the changes in funding (HPNAP, Nourish NY, Child Tax Credit, SNAP Emergency Allotments) impacted your service?
    3. What do your guest frequently need or what are they concerned with?
    4. What do you need/what are you concerned with?

    What Frontline Community Food Providers are Seeing

    SOCIAL SAFETY NETS ARE NOT ENOUGH

    “52,000 people were utilizing our pantries in 2021, increased to 69,000 people in 2022. The highest increase was in seniors/older adults and children – especially with the formula crisis in 2022″

    Natasha Pernicka, Executive Director, The Food Pantries of the Capital District, Albany, NY

    “Had a senior client register as a new pantry guest. He lives on Social Security only but did qualify for SNAP. Problem is he only gets $28 a week-not much help.”

    Mac McDonnell, Guilderland Food Pantry, Guilderland, NY

    “We had food for 750 families, and we had around 830 families show up. My estimate was that 80-85% were folks over 65 [years old] getting the food. Things are getting really hard.”

    Mark Emanatian, Executive Director, CDALF, Capital District, NY

    “When speaking with our seniors we find that they are making the difficult decision between purchasing food or buying their much-needed medications and paying for doctors’ appointments”

    Denise Dunham, Mt. Ida Food Pantry, Troy, NY

    “Service levels are double what they were this time last year… cuts to SNAP and inflation have had a huge negative impact – the pantry has become a literal lifeline for people who would have no other way to access food.”

    Chef Gregory Silverman, CEO, Westside Campaign Against Hunger, New York, NY

    Existing systems are not enough to sustain the current influx of people who are experiencing food insecurity for the first time.

    “We are seeing an increase in the working class who are coming to the pantry. They are right at the cusp and don’t qualify for SNAP. I was talking to someone who said, ‘I have to come at my lunch break, and can get fresh produce, I can’t support my family right now, I am so grateful for the food pantry.’”

    Lilybeth Otero, The Salvation Army, Albany, NY

    When funds were flowing directly to the public, our demand went down below pre-pandemic levels. Over the last months and years, as the funding was eliminated, inflation and economic uncertainty continued. LifeWorks is now seeing a demand for our pantry services 3x the level it was pre-pandemic.”

    Angelo Calbone, LifeWorks, Saratoga, NY

    Support for us is not reflective of that demand. At my pantry alone, in November of 2021 — when we had public funds supporting the community to prevent the need of attending a food pantry – I spent $11,000. This past November of 2022 I spent $36,000. Over a 3x increase in price.”

    Angela Warner of St. Vincent DePaul Food Pantry, Albany, NY

    We have actually had teachers from the Troy School District show up at our pantry recently and ask for help.”

    Michael Finocchi, Hope 7, Troy, NY

    “We are also seeing people with jobs, even two parents in the household are working, and they have to turn to food pantries for help.”

    Minnie Torres, State Street Pantry, Schenectady, NY

    Emergency Food Providers cannot keep up with demand while we are also losing State Funding

    The availability of salvaged goods have been greatly reduced we had previously had access to 40+ cans of salvage product for $6, we now are needing to purchase a case of 24 cans for up to $20. This is not sustainable.”

    Angelo Calbone, LifeWorks, Saratoga, NY

    “We’ve had pantries and meal sites run out of food for the first time ever at the end of [February] because so many people came [to the pantries].”

    Les Aylesworth, Director of CHOW, Broome County Council of Churches, Broome, NY

    Our two pantries would not exist without HPNAP funding; Nourish NY has been an additional lifesaver. We are able to serve more individuals with high quality food products because of these two funding pathways.”

    Sara Adams, Trinity Alliance of the Capital Region, Albany, NY

    “We have seen a significant increase in the need for food assistance – both in the number of new families asking for our service and in the number of times per month already registered families are asking for additional service.”

    Marcia Dudden, Living Hope UMC Food Pantry, Waterford, NY

    “The Nourish NY program makes sense based on its ability to link farmers and food banks. However, we are not seeing the amount and quality of produce that we used to get only a year or so ago.”

    Ken Moritz, Managing Director, Faith Food Pantry, Rexford, NY

    Which is impacting our ability to serve our clients

    “Infrastructure is important for the organization that supports their local Food Pantry. The cost of food is the major budget item; however, operations need resources for rent, equipment, salaries. Lack of increases can take away resources for food to put on pantry shelves.

    Angela Warner, Church of St. Vincent DePaul Food Pantry, Albany, NY

    “Another pantry in our area had to reduce their operating hours from 3 times a week to only 1 time a week. The cost of rent, the cost of food, it is hard.

    Shakeemah Dixon, Trinity Alliance/Arbor Hill Food Pantries, Albany, NY

    “Just as inflation is affecting our neighbors, it is also affecting our pantries.

    Angelo Calbone, LifeWorks, Saratoga, NY

    Across the board, we are struggling. 80% of our food pantries are expressing their concern about being able to afford enough food.

    Angie Pender-Fox, Associate Executive Director, The Food Pantries of the Capital District, Albany, NY

    Dietary needs often are more expensive to source, which results in a need for additional resources.  It is important to us to be able to provide for families so they can eat healthy, nutritious, culturally appropriate foods.”

    Captain Bree Barker, The Salvation Army, Albany, NY

    This resource is shared on behalf The Alliance for a Hunger Free New York.