Advocate – Island Harvest

Advocate

A strong nutrition safety net is essential to a future where no one goes hungry. Island Harvest Food Bank advocates for policies that protect individuals and families from hunger. Raise your voice and let your elected officials know that you support hunger-relief programs.

2023-2024 Advocacy Efforts

  • The Governor has included $34.5 million for the Hunger Prevention and Nutrition Assistance Program (HPNAP) in her Executive budget proposal; however, we were disappointed to see that the additional $22 million included last year by the State Legislature to expand the program was not included. This represents a 39% decrease in funding, a return to the pre-pandemic status quo and does not reflect current need on Long Island. Food banks like Island Harvest use these funds to purchase food to distribute to our member agencies to support our neighbors in need.

  • We were pleased to see that the Governor included level funding of $50 million for the Nourish NY program, but we encourage additional funding for this important and successful pandemic-era program that was created to help put local, healthy food on the table while supporting local New York farmers.

Sign Our Petition to Increase Funding for Food Security!

  • Island Harvest has joined the Healthy School Meals for All NY Kids coalition, led by our friends at Hunger Solutions New York and Community Food Advocates. Healthy School Meals for All is a proposal to restore free breakfast and lunch for all New York state kids. Those of us with school-aged children during the height of the pandemic are already familiar with how this worked; the federal government funded free breakfast and lunch for all students but ended that program last summer. We estimate that $200 million per year provides free breakfast and lunch for more than 726,000 students across the state, including 240,000 students on Long Island.

Sign Our Petition to Give Every Child in NY Breakfast & Lunch at School!

Become An Advocacy Volunteer

Learn more about the policy issues affecting hunger relief.

Key Issues:


SNAP is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as “food stamps.” SNAP provides a monthly benefit to qualified, low income consumers to purchase food. SNAP benefits are provided via an electronic benefits transfer (EBT) card. To qualify, a household must have gross monthly income less than 130 percent of the federal poverty guidelines (currently $24,600 for a family of four), monthly net income of 100 percent of the federal poverty guidelines, and assets of less than $2,000.

CEP is the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP). CEP is a non-pricing meal service option for schools and school districts in low-income areas. CEP allows the nation's highest poverty schools and districts to serve breakfast and lunch at no cost to all enrolled students without collecting household applications. Instead, schools that adopt CEP are reimbursed using a formula based on percentage of students categorically eligible for free meals based on their participation in other specific means-tested programs such as SNAP.

The Farm Bill is legislation authorized every five years by Congress that shapes national agricultural and food policy. Within the Farm Bill are programs critical to agricultural interests, such as crop insurance, commodities, conservation, and farm subsidies. There are also programs important to the hunger community, such as the programs listed above as well as a few other smaller programs. The nutrition programs authorized by the Farm Bill are critical to Food Bank clients and Food Bank operations. SNAP helps many of Island Harvest clients purchase food that supplements what they can receive at Food Bank Partner Agencies or purchase with their own income. CSFP provides nutritious food boxes to our senior population.

Our collaborators in improving health and nutrition:
Feeding America
Feeding New York State
Food and Research Action Center (FRAC)

Federal Policy

Island Harvest is committed to protecting the funding and structure of the federal nutrition programs that form the backbone of our nation’s response to hunger. We are urging Congress to protect and defend these programs, especially the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) as well as other critical anti-hunger programs such as: the SNAP Nutrition Education and Obesity Prevention Grant Program (SNAP-Ed), The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) and the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP).

SNAP
SNAP benefits and eligibility must be protected. Without a strong SNAP, the charitable response to hunger will not be able to meet the need. Negative changes to its funding or structure could result in millions of meals lost over the next decade. SNAP responds quickly to changes in need, growing in response to increases in poverty and unemployment, and declining as unemployment falls. The program is effective, provides a path out of poverty and hunger, and leads to improved educational outcomes, productivity, and health.

SNAP-Ed
Nutrition Education plays an essential role in improving health, lowering health care costs and breaking the cycle of poverty. Food banks rely on SNAP-Ed dollars to educate families, seniors and children about eating nutritiously on a budget. The program is highly efficient, has well-documented outcomes at program- and state-levels, and is structured to ensure funding for the most competitive projects in each state.

CSFP




State Policy

Island Harvest Food Bank works closely with the New York State Legislature during session, providing testimony in hearings, serving as an expert resource and advocating for policies to make our state hunger-free and healthy.

For questions regarding Advocacy, please contact:

Gregory May, Government Relations Liaison - 631-873-4775 X:256

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