How We Work
The Association was formed in the late 1990s when the food banks from around New York State began to meet and discuss the issue of hunger at the state level. In 2004 the Association began serving as a statewide presence educating the public as to the needs of the food banks and New York's hungry. In 2006 the first Executive Director was hired.
The state food bank network covers each and every county in New York State:
- Food Bank of Western New York (located in Buffalo)
- Foodlink (located in Rochester)
- Food Bank of the Southern Tier (located in Elmira)
- Syracuse - Food Bank of Central New York
- Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York (located in Latham with a satellite facility, the Food Bank of the Hudson Valley at Cornwall-on-Hudson[near Newburgh]).
- Food Bank For Westchester (located in Elmsford)
- Food Bank For New York City
- Long Island Cares, Inc./The Harry Chapin Food Bank (located in Hauppauge)
Incorporated as a non-profit whose mission is to help end hunger in New York State, the Association is located in Albany about 2 blocks from the State Capitol. The Association works in a variety of ways to assist in hunger relief:
- Partnerships with industry to gain more donations/food for the food banks,
- Statewide donation projects in conjunction with farmers to obtain fresh fruit and produce for the hungry,
- Public education as to the needs of the food banks and the 5,000 hunger relief agencies served by food banks,
- Advocacy on behalf of the food banks at the local, state, and federal levels of government,
- Nutritional awareness and anti-hunger advocacy,
- Representation at state agencies serving as a resource for both state government and the food banks in the areas of food policy,
- Inter-food bank and agency committees and gatherings to share best practices,
- Coordinated outreach with other charities to develop policy and practices to address hunger and poverty in New York State,
- Research into the effects of hunger on the state and its population,
- Fundraising to support the mission of the Association and food banks.
With the Association as a statewide presence addressing concerns and issues related to hunger and food distribution to assist the hungry many still ask:
What is a Food Bank?
A food bank is a warehousing facility that acquires, sorts, stores, and distributes food to various community hunger prevention organizations. These community groups include food pantries, soup kitchens, homeless shelters, after school nutrition programs, and a variety of other emergency food relief organizations dedicated to providing nutritious meals to the hungry. The Food Banks of New York State provide millions of pounds of food to New York's neediest each year. Without the food bank network, thousands of hunger prevention programs would face food and resource shortages and millions of people would face chronic hunger.
Where do Food Banks get their food?
Food banks get their food through donations, salvaged product, and purchases. Donations come from large and small donors alike - from individuals, small community food drives, New York farmers, and private companies. Often times food banks are given salvage food items that are only superficially damaged, meaning that the food is perfectly edible but the packages or cans may have some cosmetic damage. Food banks also receive surplus commodities from the federal government (USDA) and aid from New York State's Hunger Prevention and Nutrition Assistance Program (HPNAP) that assist in the direct purchase of nutritious food, dairy products, and fresh fruits and vegetables. Our main support comes from thoughtful people who donate time, food, and money.
How do Food Banks Operate?
Our daily mission is simple: to obtain food and then, in turn, deliver it to emergency food programs. By placing food and resources into the hands of people who feed the needy we enable emergency food programs to battle hunger each day. In essence, we serve as the warehouses that keep New York State's hunger relief agencies operating. Additionally, many food banks provide food to hundreds of non-emergency programs like group homes, day cares, senior centers, and camps.