Thursday, April 09, 2009

Senator Gillibrand Meets with Anti-hunger Advocates, Pledges Support

“The reality that hunger still plagues far too many of our citizens in New York and throughout the nation has never been more apparent than it is during these troubling economic times,” said Senator Gillibrand yesterday at the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Senior Residence. “I will lead the fight in the Senate to ensure that our seniors and those suffering from food insecurity have access to programs and services that provide healthy, nutritious food.”

At the beginning of the Passover holiday, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand met with local elected officials as well as leaders from the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty (Met Council), NYCCAH, the Food Bank for New York City, and City Harvest. Senator Gillibrand is a member of the Senate’s Special Committee on Aging, discussed hunger, food insecurity, and a number of other issues facing low-income seniors.

Said Joel Berg, executive director of the New York City Coalition Against Hunger, “We are thrilled that Senator Gillibrand has pledged her support for ending hunger as a top priority. In the next year, we hope that she will take a leadership role in the Senate Agriculture Committee to support a strong Reauthorization of the Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act as well as other legislation that will assist low-income Americans during the recession and will help end hunger in our time. I couldn’t think of a better way for her to begin her career as a New York Senator.”

Senator Gillibrand also supported President Obama's American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) which provides important support for food banks, school lunch programs, and SNAP/Food Stamps. In particular, the ARRA invests $20 billion over the next two years to increase SNAP/Food Stamp benefits, an average increase of 13.6% for each recipient.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Not an April Fool's Joke.

Today (April 1st, 2009), SNAP/Food Stamp recipients receive 13.6% more per month. This increase is due to the American Recovery Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), which increases SNAP/Food Stamp benefits, gives states extra money to administer SNAP/Food Stamps, and also includes additional nutrition provisions.

Here is the break down of what the ARRA provisions mean for New York State:

National and New York State Breakdown of ARRA Expenditures



New York State


$374.19 billion

$24.63 billion

SNAP/Food Stamp Benefit Increase

$19.9 billion

$1.289 billion

SNAP/Food Stamp Administration

$291 million

$30 million

Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)

$500 million

$34 million

Senior Nutrition Program

$100 million

$7 million

If you haven't already done so, please call your Congressional Representatives to thank them for their support in passing this critical legislation. Despite the important advances made in ARRA, however, there is still work to be done. In New York State, we must work together to urge Mayor Bloomberg and Governor Paterson to accept the ABAWD waiver.

In addition, in order to maximize the effectiveness of these important increases, New York City must increase its outreach for Food Stamp/SNAP benefits, improve HRA's ability to process claims by following Public Advocate Gotbaum's recommendations to improve technology, and must stop its wasteful and ineffective practice of finger imaging Food Stamp/SNAP recipients.