New York commits millions, starts up new program to help food banks
As more Americans lose their jobs, the number of people turning to food pantries is soaring. New York is now providing millions to make sure people who need it don't go hungry.
Randi Dresner of Island Harvest says it has been tough keeping up with the surge in demand.
"In all of my 20 years at Island Harvest, we've never seen anything like this. This is unbelievable," says Dresner.
A breakdown by region shows a 40% increase in the number of Long Island residents struggling to put food on the table since the pandemic started.
On Monday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that help is on the way, with a $25 million commitment in emergency funds to food banks.
Cuomo also announced the Nourish New York Initiative, to purchase excess food and products from upstate farms and distribute that to those in need.
The move comes as many dairy producers have been forced to dump milk in recent weeks as the coronavirus has dried up the marketplace for dairy products.
"This is just total waste to me. We have people downstate who need food. We have farmers upstate who can't sell their product. We have to put those two things together," says Cuomo.
Dresner says the governor's emergency funding and Nourish New York program will go a long away.
"The food costs a lot of money. We have spent almost $2 million so far in food purchases," says Dresner. "It's about 1,000% more than we normally do at the same period of time."