The newly enacted state budget includes both new and continued funding to support anti-hunger programs.
Effective in the 2019-2020 school year, students who qualify for reduced-price school meals will no longer need to pay the .25 cent fee for breakfast or lunch. Instead, the state will provide funding to replace the amount currently paid by students. This will benefit approximately 400,000 students across the state. This $2.3 million investment will subsidize the cost of reduced-price meals, ensuring that every student has access to healthy food. The fee can be a significant barrier to participation for many working-class, low-income families. Participation among students certified for reduced-price school meals traditionally has lagged that of students certified for free meals, due primarily to the per-meal fee. Seven states—Colorado, Maine, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington—and the District of Columbia, provide funding to eliminate the reduced-price fee, and have seen an increase in the number of children participating in the school meal programs as a result. New York State is now the largest state to eliminate the reduced-price student fee for school meals. Hunger Solutions New York, in partnership with the NY School Nutrition Association and other coalition partners, urged the state to fund this initiative.
The budget provides level funding for two key programs managed by Hunger Solutions New York: the Nutrition Outreach and Education Program (NOEP), and the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) outreach project. For more than 30 years, NOEP has offered free, confidential, one-on-one services that help hungry New Yorkers get nutrition assistance. NOEP is one of the largest Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) outreach programs in the nation. NOEP funds 68 full-time Coordinators in 55 counties to conduct SNAP outreach, and help applicants gather documentation for, fill out, and submit the SNAP application. The CACFP outreach projects seeks to expand the number of early care and afterschool childcare providers that participate in CACFP in order to provide healthy meals and snacks to children and teens in their care.
In addition, other programs that support anti-hunger efforts received funding. The Hunger Prevention and Nutrition Assistance Program (HPNAP) was funded at $35 million, which includes an additional $500K to expand services. HPNAP provides funding to the state’s network of food banks and pantries.
The budget includes increased funding for the Advantage After School Program, which provides quality youth development opportunities to school-age children and youth for three hours directly after school. Funding was also included to create 6,250 new after school slots in high-need communities through the Empire State After-School Program to ensure that every child who needs a safe place to go after school is provided one. These programs provide a key opportunity to provide nutritious afterschool meals to students in need through the Child and Adult Care Food Program.
Hunger Solutions New York thanks Governor Cuomo and members of the NYS Senate and Assembly for prioritizing these investments in this year’s state budget.
Read more about our state and federal public policy priorities here.