In Albany, as the state budget is being finalized, Met Council is celebrating successfully securing an additional $50 million for the Nourish New York Initiative, a vital tool in the fight against food insecurity and an important lifeline for the state’s local farmers. After initially being slated to only receive $25 million in initial budget proposals, Nourish NY received $50 million in the budget’s final form, thanks to a coalition of legislators led by Assembly Members Dan Rosenthal and Catalina Cruz and State Senators Joseph Addabbo and Andrew Gounardes. Nourish New York is an emergency food program that was created last year, thanks to early pandemic advocacy by Met Council on Jewish Poverty. Since the start of the pandemic, Met Council had distributed over 15 million pounds of free food to more than 305,000 New Yorkers in need and assisted over 380 food pantries.

When the pandemic first hit last March, Met Council quickly ran a campaign to secure emergency funding for food pantries across New York. Those efforts helped secure over $100 million for food pantries from New York State just this past year. Though Met Council receives but a fraction of this funding for its food distributions and pantries, they turned to their allies in Albany to help lead this charge because of how essential a weapon Nourish NY is in the fight against food insecurity.

Nourish NY was inaugurated by Governor Andrew Cuomo last spring in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and at the behest of Met Council and other emergency food providers across New York State. In the year since the program’s formation, over 21 million pounds of surplus agricultural products have been purchased from New York farmers and distributed to more than 1.3 million households in need across New York. Millions of New Yorkers are still struggling, and Nourish NY needed to be fully funded in 2021 in order to help the most people. Thanks to the governor, legislative leaders, and the advocates calling for the full $50 million, more and more New Yorkers will have nutritious food on their tables and in their pantries.

“We at Met Council work tirelessly to provide for the ever-increasing number of New Yorkers living in food insecurity because of COVID, but we cannot do it alone. Thanks to our friends in Albany and allies across the state, this farmers-to-food-pantries program will go a long way to helping struggling farmers and hungry New Yorkers,” said David G. Greenfield, CEO of Met Council. “We were proud to lead public policy efforts to combat food insecurity and use our voice to ensure Nourish NY received the full $50 million it needs in 2021 to be as effective and wide-reaching as possible. The $100 million allocated since the program’s inception last spring has and will continue to be immensely helpful to millions of New Yorkers.”

Met Council is America’s largest Jewish charity dedicated to fighting poverty. Met Council helps the neediest through comprehensive social services and by treating each client with compassion, integrity, and respect. The ten different departments are staffed by experts who help over 300,000 clients each year and advocate on behalf of all needy New Yorkers. Need help? Call 212-453-9500.