The Hunger Prevention and Nutrition Assistance Program (HPNAP) is one of the most successful anti-poverty and nutrition programs in New York. When HPNAP was created in 1984, it made New York one of the first states in the nation to provide direct support to local hunger relief efforts. HPNAP provides supplemental food which is distributed throughout the New York State Emergency Food Program (EFP) network of over 3,000, primarily volunteer-operated,  soup kitchens, shelters  and food pantries. These organizations provide more than 200 million meals a year to low income people across the state. EFPs are seeing an increase in the number of working poor, veterans, and seniors at their doors. Hunger on college campuses is also increasing.

The HPNAP Food Grant provides eligible food pantries, soup kitchens, and emergency shelters with lines of credit at the Food Bank that serves their area – there are 10 Food Banks in New York State. These lines of credit cover the handling fees for nutritious items from each Food Banks’ inventory. HPNAP is administered by the Bureau of Nutrition Risk Reduction in the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH).

Per the NYSDOH, last year HPNAP funding provided about 225 million meals to New Yorkers in need. However, New York currently faces a meal gap of 472 million meals, estimated by Feeding America to cost $1.4 billion. New York States allocation for HPNAP is $34.5 million. HPNAP funding has not increased to meet the growing needs and current funding does not even meet the standards established by the State which is a nine-meal standard that provides 3 meals for 3 days per guest. To ensure the program meets its 9 meals standard, funding must be increased by $16.5 million for a total fund of $51 million. While EFPs work every day to help New Yorkers in need, many report they do not have enough food to meet the demand.

The FY17-18 New York State budget proposal calls for $34.5 million to the HPNAP. This proposal is the beginning of the budget process, and as New Yorkers we can weigh in on what is important to our communities for the state’s budget. Send a message to your representatives in Albany to prioritize the HPNAP that many emergency food providers rely on – fund it at $51 million.

READ THIS: This Is How Families Go Hungry.


Presentation by: Association of State Public Health Nutritionists (ASPHN)


  1.  Contact your Assembly-member and State Senator. Calls and handwritten letters are very effective, try to meet with them when they are in their districts. Share with them the following:
    – Thank them for supporting and prioritizing anti-hunger proposals in the 2017-2018 New York State Budget, including the legislative add on to the HPNAP.
    – That further investment will be needed to fully address the Meal Gap in New York State, which is currently 472 million meals annually
    – Remind them that 1 out of 8 people struggles with hunger, among children it is worse, as hunger effects 1 in 4 children, that their constituents are among those suffering.
    – Tell them that lack of enough nutritious food impairs a child’s ability to concentrate and perform well in school.


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