Assemblymembers Jon Rivera and Catalina Cruz Recognize Critically Needed $50 Million in Funding for Nourish New York Program

Rivera will give an additional $200,000 in Community Capital Assistance (CCAP) funds to FeedMore WNY.

Posted: July 25, 2022

FeedMore WNY joined Assemblymember Jon D. Rivera and Assemblymember Catalina Cruz at West Side Community Services on Monday, July 25, 2022 to announce funding from the New York State Assembly Majority for the Nourish New York program, and an additional investment from Assemblymember Rivera to FeedMore WNY’s strategic vision for combating food insecurity.

The 2022-23 state budget allocates a critically needed $50 million toward the Nourish New York program. The Nourish New York program provides state funding to food banks and other emergency food providers for the direct purchase of fresh fruits, vegetables, and dairy products from New York farmers and dairy processors, which are then distributed to individuals and families experiencing food insecurity. FeedMore WNY will receive $4.5 million from the program. “The Nourish New York program has been instrumental in maintaining critical links between our state’s farms and emergency food providers, while the impact that FeedMore WNY has locally in feeding underserved and vulnerable populations cannot be understated,” said Assemblymember Jon D. Rivera. “I am honored to be able to bolster these crucial programs and organizations at a time in which our fellow residents need broader and more direct access to fresh food more than they ever have.”

The program launched in April of 2020 as a way to help struggling New York farms and tackle the hunger crisis worsened by the pandemic, and has sustained over 4,000 farms and distributed over 17 million pounds of fresh food over the past two years. Since the program began, 21 million pounds of surplus agricultural products have been purchased from over 4,000 New York farms and delivered to more than 1.3 million New Yorkers in need across New York State. Assemblymember Cruz, instrumental in the founding of the program, worked with State Sen. Michelle Hinchey to draft a bill to make it a permanent state fixture. Gov. Kathy Hochul signed the bill in November 2021. “The Nourish NY program created a critical pipeline to bring fresh food from our State’s farms to the neighborhoods that needed it most,” said Assemblymember Catalina Cruz. “I am honored to have sponsored this bill in the Assembly, and to stand with my colleague Assemblymember Jon Rivera, who has committed additional money to enhance the program in his district.”

Assemblymember Rivera also announced that he is providing FeedMore WNY with $200,000 in funding through the New York State and Community Capital Assistance Program (CCAP), to improve FeedMore WNY’s ability to help neighbors dealing with food insecurity and support the strategic plan for the future. “Since 2020, FeedMore WNY has provided more than 12.6 million meals to the WNY community. This could not have been accomplished without the support from our community, hunger relief partners and our champions in government,” said Tara A. Ellis, FeedMore WNY President & CEO. “We commend the efforts of Assemblywoman Cruz for being a champion for the Nourish New York program and the help it has provided to countless New Yorkers, and Assemblyman Rivera for ensuring that FeedMore WNY will be able to continue to serve the Western New York community in the future.”

Crystal Selk, executive director at West Side Community Services, said, “West Side Community Services is strengthened by supportive partnerships with other community organizations, like FeedMore WNY, and elected officials, like Assemblymember Jon Rivera. Since opening last year, our Provisions 139 market-style food pantry has been serving an average of 1,000 individuals each month. While we are proud of the work we’ve done so far, we know there is a wider need for accessible healthy food in our west Buffalo community. Funding through Nourish New York will help us reach more of our neighbors with local, fresh, culturally appropriate staples like meat, milk, fruit, and vegetables.”

Buffalo Councilmember David Rivera said, “My office has collaborated with FeedMore WNY on a number of occasions to distribute food to Niagara District residents. I can’t thank Assemblymember Rivera enough for securing this additional funding for FeedMore WNY as they continue to provide such a vital service to residents at such a crucial time.”

about FeedMore WNY

FeedMore WNY offers dignity, hope and a brighter future by providing nutritious food, friendship and skills training to its Western New York neighbors in need. Through its food bank distribution center and partner hunger-relief agencies, as well as its home-delivered meal program, other targeted feeding programs and RISE workforce development training, FeedMore WNY alleviates hunger and assists community members of all ages throughout Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie and Niagara counties.

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