Communities in Action: Building a Better New York event highlighted the impact of federal investment in communities across New York
Andrés Vives, Executive Director of Hunger Solutions New York, attended Communities in Action: Building a Better New York at the White House on Thursday, December 14, 2024. The invitation-only event is part of a White House series that features community leaders and elected officials working to create opportunities, address challenges, and improve people’s everyday lives.
“I am honored to have this extraordinary opportunity to highlight the impact of our work across the state to fight hunger and connect New Yorkers to the resources they need to put food on their tables. Our work focuses on maximizing the reach of federal nutrition programs in New York. We’ve seen firsthand how recent federal policies have improved access to SNAP, WIC, summer nutrition programs, school meals, and other programs that address hunger.”
At the forum, Andrés shared how New Yorkers are seeing the impact of federal policies that strengthen and improve access to critical nutrition programs. Among these highlights:
- USDA’s recent expansion of eligibility for the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) worked hand-in-hand with New York’s new CEP state subsidy to dramatically expand access to free school meals across the state. Combined, these policies will allow an estimated 300,000 additional students across 1,100 schools to gain access to school meals at no cost.
- Recent improvements to WIC—including increased benefits for fruits and vegetables, and the extension of remote services—have supported a dramatic increase in participation in New York. Since March 2020, New York has seen a 19 percent overall increase in participation and a 30 percent increase in participation among children specifically.
- The Summer EBT program—established as a permanent, nationwide program in the 2023 omnibus spending bill—will be an invaluable support for New York’s children and families and is expected to reach more than two million children when it launches. In previous summers, only 1 in 4 of New York’s low-income children had access to traditional summer meal programs. Summer EBT, coupled with new flexibilities for summer meal programs in rural communities, will ensure more children have consistent access to nutrition year-round.
- USDA’s 2021 reevaluation of the Thrifty Food Plan, which is used to calculate SNAP benefit amounts, more accurately measures the cost of a healthy diet, and led to a meaningful—though modest—increase in benefit levels for the 2.8 million New Yorkers who rely on SNAP to buy groceries.
Andrés and the staff of Hunger Solutions New York are tremendously grateful for this opportunity to showcase the impact of our work to reduce hunger, draw attention to the needs of food-insecure New Yorkers, and return with new connections to help us ensure that all New Yorkers have the resources they need to put food on their tables.