Gov. Hochul Establishes Two Programs to Both Feed New Yorkers in Need and Bolster the Restaurant Industry
Gov. Kathy Hochul has signed into law two new programs that will both provide the most vulnerable New Yorkers with hot, nutritious meals and simultaneously give a boost to restaurants that are struggling to recover from the business they lost during the pandemic.
Once approved by the United State Department of Agriculture (USDA), Gov. Hochul’s first restaurant program, the Statewide Meals Program, will allow the elderly, the disabled, the homeless, and other recipients of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to use their food stamps, for the first time, to buy not just groceries, but hot, prepared food in some restaurants and delis statewide.
In another effort to bolster the restaurant industry and provide food to those in need, Gov. Hochul also launched a $25 million Restaurant Resiliency Program, which was proposed by the legislature to provide funding to New York's network of food banks and emergency food providers to purchase prepared meals from New York restaurants and then deliver them to families in need.
"It's unconscionable that in a state as prosperous as New York, many residents still struggle to get enough food to feed their families," said Gov. Hochul, whose initiatives will build on former Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Nourish New York initiative, which re-directed extra agricultural products to families and farmers who need them most through New York's network of food banks.
The Restaurant Resiliency Program will award state funding to New York's network of 10 statewide food banks. Then, emergency food providers will work directly with restaurants that have been approved by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, which determines which restaurant can create meals that align with MyPlate.gov standards, have passed all health inspections, and are up to date with licensing requirements.
In addition, the state encourages restaurants participating in the program to use New York ingredients, whenever possible.
"The vital actions we're taking: establishing two restaurant programs to help the most vulnerable New Yorkers feed themselves and help restaurants recover from this terrible pandemic—will work in tandem to put food on the table in homes across the state,” said Gov. Kathy Hochul. “This pandemic continues to impact the wallets and homes of a vast number of New Yorkers, and we're taking any and all actions to help them support themselves and their loved ones."
"The actions Gov. Hochul are taking today make it clear to families and restaurants recovering from COVID that New York State is here for them,” said Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin. “Expanding SNAP benefit eligibility to prepared or hot foods at participating restaurants will help feed New York families in need while providing a needed boost to struggling local businesses.”