With Thanksgiving approaching, New Yorkers have been bracing for the impact of cuts to the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. That impact may not be as severe as initially thought...
SNAP benefits, formerly known as food stamps, were cut as of November 1st, when a post-recession stimulus boost expired. The decrease amounted to approximately 36-dollars a month for four-person families. Community food pantries prepared for the worst. Paul Pachter oversees operations at the Harry Chapin Food bank on Long Island. He says his facility is supposed to serve as a temporary stopgap measure for folks whose fortunes have turned.
Now, those considered "hungry" or "food-insecure" are finding fortune once again shifting direction: first, as a result of a federal class action lawsuit filed against the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, tens of thousands of low-income households across New York State that were improperly cut off or denied food stamps are now being issued retroactive benefits to the tune of $80 million.
Secondly, Governor Andrew Cuomo has stepped in, holding a candle of hope... Cuomo has announced $4.5 million in grants to help 2,600 emergency food providers throughout New York State respond to an increased need for food assistance following the recent reduction in federal SNAP benefits that has impacted 3.1 million New Yorkers. The Governor Monday also encouraged New Yorkers and businesses to donate food or volunteer at a local food bank this holiday season.
The Hunger Action Network's Mark Dunlea says the group appreciates the governor's gesture, but there is much more to be considered.
At the Annual Thanksgiving Action Against Hunger, held today in Albany, anti-hunger advocates are calling on state and federal officials to do more to end hunger and poverty ... they planned to deliver a special message to the governor in his office at the Capitol at noon.
The group is also launching its Faces Against Hunger campaign.