NY State gives food aid programs $4.5M to curb federal cuts

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (Nov. 28, 2012)

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (Nov. 28, 2012) (Credit: Howard Schnapp)

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ALBANY -- New York State will boost grants to regional food banks and similar organizations to help mitigate a federal reduction in food stamps, officials said on Monday.

The state will augment funding for food assistance programs by $4.5 million, a 15 percent increase. On Long Island, Island Harvest will receive an additional $29,000 and Long Island Cares will receive an additional $245,000. Both nonprofits provide food aid for the hungry.

"With the holiday season upon us, New York State is stepping up to help food banks and soup kitchens all across the state stock their shelves and feed those in need," Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said in a statement.

Federal funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or food stamps, declined in November because of the expiration of additional funding through the federal stimulus program. Average monthly food stamp assistance for a family of four decreased by $36. In New York, officials estimate that annual food stamp benefits will decline by $302 million.

At the same time, the number of emergency meals provided by food banks and others in New York is running about 13 percent higher than in 2012, officials said.

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