food insecurity | WAMC

food insecurity

Given unprecedented times, The Food Pantries for the Capital District is working to ensure that our local food pantries are prepared in the face of circumstances which are devastating to the most vulnerable community members.

With schools now re-opened and soon closing for the summer, hourly and low wage workers losing income, businesses still hurting, and seniors feeling isolated: local food pantries are able to help.

Natasha Pernicka is the Executive Director of The Food Pantries for the Capital District.

Inaugural Woodstock Film Festival Residency Filmmakers: (clockwise) Eunice Lau, Maba Ba, Set Hernandez Rongkilyo, and Brooke Pepion Swaney
Provided / https://woodstockfilmfestival.org/

The Woodstock Film Festival is knee-deep in its inaugural Filmmakers Residency / Incubator Program. It serves four filmmakers of diverse and underrepresented backgrounds who are in the midst of developing their respective full-length narrative and documentary films, each addressing social justice themes. Each project will fit within the mission of the residency of artistic vision and social responsibility, resting upon four pillars: Racism, Climate Change, Food Insecurity, and Immigration.

Woodstock Film Festival Co-Founder and Executive Director Meira Blaustein says she is “thankful for the opportunity to bring the fellows, mentors, staff and community at-large together and look forward to seeing these promising filmmakers hone in their creative voices."

The four filmmakers are Eunice Lau, Set Hernandez Rongkilyo, Brooke Pepion Swaney and Maba Ba.

Andrew Morehouse, Executive Director of The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts.
Paul Tuthill / WAMC

   A study projects a sharp increase in the number of people going hungry in western Massachusetts this year as a result of the economic hardships brought about by the pandemic.

activity at a farmers' market
WAMC

An effort is underway to get farm-grown fresh food to more low-income people in western Massachusetts this year.

Community Foundation of Western Mass.

     Since the start of the pandemic, the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts has given almost $12 million in grants to more than 180 nonprofits in Hampden, Hampshire, and Franklin counties.

The Food Pantries For The Capital District continue to face staggering challenges and increases in need as the Coronavirus pandemic rages on.

Executive Director, Natasha Pernicka, joins us.

Part of the current food shelf at the North Country Veterans Association
Pat Bradley/WAMC

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed a bill sponsored by Hudson Valley lawmakers to increase food donations to food pantries and similar nonprofits.

Two hands embrace under a rose over a red backdrop with "Berkshires Democratic Socialists Of America" in a ring around them.
Berkshires Democratic Socialists of America

The Berkshire County Chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America is holding a “Bread And Roses” food giveaway in Pittsfield, Massachusetts from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday. Chapter member Abigail Childs tells WAMC the event is the climax of a month-long, countywide effort to get fresh, local food to those experiencing food insecurity in the community.

Food Bank van and AMR ambulance
Paul Tuthill / WAMC

Food insecurity in western Massachusetts is climbing along with the surge in coronavirus cases.

Jammella Anderson stands by a community refrigerator on Elm Street in Albany
Shannon Straney / Photo provided

Coming to a street corner near you, a refrigerator.  

Our Falling into Place series spotlights the important work of -and fosters collaboration between- not-for-profit organizations in our communities; allowing us all to fall into place.

Falling Into Place is supported by The Seymour Fox Memorial Foundation, Providing a helping hand to turn inspiration into accomplishment. See more possibilities … see more promise… see more progress.

This morning we'll learn about OpenWorld Relief, an organization that helps communities that have been affected by natural disasters. 

Benjamin Watsky is Executive Director of OpenWorld Relief, Co-founder at The Agora Method, and an Air National Guard Pilot. 

Our Falling into Place series spotlights the important work of -and fosters collaboration between- not-for-profit organizations in our communities; allowing us all to fall into place.

Falling Into Place is supported by The Seymour Fox Memorial Foundation, Providing a helping hand to turn inspiration into accomplishment. See more possibilities … see more promise… see more progress.

This morning we learn about The Salvation Army's current efforts throughout the Capital Region. We welcome Envoy Vangerl Pegues, co-Commander of the Troy Corps; Major Leo Lloyd, co-Commander of the Glens Falls Corps; Lieutenant Bree Barker, co-Commander of the Saratoga Corps.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand with Trinity Alliance of the Capital Region’s Arbor Hill Food Pantry Manager Andre Lewis
WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand visited a food pantry in Albany's Arbor Hill this morning to help pack healthy meals for New Yorkers struggling to make ends meet during the coronavirus pandemic.

Our Falling into Place series spotlights the important work of -and fosters collaboration between- not-for-profit organizations in our communities; allowing us all to fall into place.

Falling Into Place is supported by The Seymour Fox Memorial Foundation, Providing a helping hand to turn inspiration into accomplishment. See more possibilities … see more promise… see more progress.

This morning we focus on Fareground Community to discuss hunger and food insecurity in the Beacon/Newburgh/ Wappingers Falls areas of New York’s Hudson Valley, and how Fareground has been supporting those communities. Kara Dean-Assael is co-founder of Fareground and Karen George is Fareground Board President.

Ben Downing: Hunger, Pandemics And Politics

May 14, 2020

On the one hand - skyrocketing unemployment and surging demand for emergency food assistance from Food Banks, pantries and soup kitchens. On the other hand - farms dumping milk, smashing eggs, plowing vegetables into the ground and farms closing. How can this be?

5/7/20 Panel

May 7, 2020

     The Roundtable Panel: a daily open discussion of issues in the news and beyond.

Today's panelists are WAMC’s Alan Chartock, investigative journalist and UAlbany adjunct professor Rosemary Armao, Siena College Professor of Comparative Politics Vera Eccarius-Kelly, SUNY New Paltz Communications Professor and former NYS Senator Terry Gipson.

We also welcome Executive Director of The Food Pantries for the Capital District Natasha Pernicka.

WAMC

As unemployment numbers have surged over the past few weeks, so has demand for social services including emergency food assistance.

The Comfort Food Community usually runs a ‘Give Hunger the Boot’ campaign to raise funds in support of the non-profit organization based in Greenwich, NY where proceeds benefited CFC’s programs including: the Greenwich and Cossayuna Food Pantries, the Yes! Backpack Program in partnership with Greenwich Central School, the Greenwich Community Garden and the Fresh Food Collective.

Well, that has changed this year because of the pandemic. It is now: The Kick Covid campaign - a virtual, ‘Peer-to-Peer’ campaign. That means that you can go from supporting the campaign with a single donation, to creating your own mini fundraiser.

Devin Bulger is the Executive Director of Comfort Food Community.

Our Falling into Place series spotlights the important work of -and fosters collaboration between- not-for-profit organizations in our communities; allowing us all to fall into place.

Falling Into Place is supported by The Seymour Fox Memorial Foundation, Providing a helping hand to turn inspiration into accomplishment. See more possibilities … see more promise… see more progress.

This morning we focus on the Pat Wood Backpack Program at Schodack Central Schools. We welcome Castleton Elementary School Social Worker Jen Sober; Michelle Stilson- Maple Hill Jr./ Sr. High School Social Worker Michelle Stilson; and Maple Hill High School Teacher Rico Frese.

Roots Rising’s mission is to empower youth and build community through food and farming. Their vision is to lift up teens as community changemakers and to strengthen the local food system through the transformational power of meaningful work in Berkshire County.

Roots Rising has two main initiatives: their Youth Crews and the Pittsfield Farmers Market. The market's closure has had a huge economic effect on their farmers. It’s also a strike against food security for their low-income neighbors.

So, with generous emergency funding and support from many community organizations they have launched a Virtual Farmers Market. You can now order food online from a variety of farmers and food producers and have it delivered right to your door - Berkshire county-wide!

Roots Rising co-directors Jess Vecchia and Jamie Samowitz joined us.

Given unprecedented times, The Food Pantries for the Capital District is working to ensure that our local food pantries are prepared in the face of circumstances which are devastating to the most vulnerable community members.

Schools are closing down, hourly and low wage workers are losing income, businesses are hurting, and seniors are isolated. Local food pantries able to help. 

Natasha Pernicka is the Executive Director of The Food Pantries for the Capital District. 

Amy Halloran: The Cure for Hunger is Housing

Nov 12, 2019

A month ago, the Food Pantries for the Capital District gave me the Sister Mary Coons award, acknowledging my efforts running the food pantry at Unity House. At the gala, I spoke about the wonderful permission I felt as an employee, and the myth that low income people don't want healthy food. This was a party and I kept my comments brief, knowing I could expand elsewhere.

  Our Falling into Place series spotlights the important work of -and fosters collaboration between- not-for-profit organizations in our communities; allowing us all to fall into place.

Falling Into Place is supported by The Seymour Fox Memorial Foundation, Providing a helping hand to turn inspiration into accomplishment. See more possibilities … see more promise… see more progress.

This morning we focus on UAlbany's Purple Pantry - a new on-campus food pantry. We are joined by Director of Student CARE Services Sally D’Alessandro and Associate Director of Off-Campus Student Services Luke Rumsey.

Josh Landes / WAMC

Bennington College will use $1 million in grant funding to research food insecurity.

WAMC

   Premium beef from a prize 4-H steer will be feeding hungry families and homeless people in western Massachusetts for the next few months.

Our Falling into Place series spotlights the important work of -and fosters collaboration between- not-for-profit organizations in our communities; allowing us all to fall into place.

Falling Into Place is supported by The Seymour Fox Memorial Foundation, Providing a helping hand to turn inspiration into accomplishment. See more possibilities … see more promise… see more progress. This morning we focus on The Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York with Executive Director, Mark Quandt.

2018 CP Rail Holiday Train in Plattsburgh
Pat Bradley/WAMC

A train covered with holiday lights wended its way through the region this week.  While the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train may brighten the holiday, its goal is to increase awareness about the needs of local food shelves.

  A new multi-media campaign was launched this week in western Massachusetts to highlight the fact that many people in the region face hunger on a daily basis.

WAMC

     With schools back in session, a program that provided free meals to children during the summer in parks, playgrounds, campgrounds, and churches has come to an end.  In one western Massachusetts community, kids had healthy lunches delivered right to where they live from a fully-equipped kitchen on wheels.

Ben Downing: Ending Hunger

Mar 6, 2018

Massachusetts is one of the richest states in the richest nation on earth and yet, 1 in 10 people and 1 in 7 children struggle with hunger. That’s 701,630 of our family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers. It’s 187,920 kids. That is a moral outrage and it should spur action to ensure no one goes hungry. Unfortunately, this hasn’t proven to be the case. Thanks to a recent study by Children’s Health Watch of Boston Medical Center we have a new way of thinking about the costs of hunger and with it hope for renewed action.

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