Our mission is to lead a unified effort for a hunger-free New York State. Our goal is to ensure that every person in every community has access to good, healthy, food. We help the food banks of New York State obtain more food. We encourage donations and volunteer support. We foster awareness of the mission of food banks and we create partnerships to help alleviate hunger.
In the late 1990’s, food banks from around the state began to meet to discuss the issue of hunger at a state level, and it was here that the Food Bank Association of New York State was formed. In 2004 the Association began serving a statewide presence, educating the public as to the needs of the food banks, and of New York’s hungry. We have grown, so that we now feed feed millions of people each year, through over 5,000 food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, and other non-profit feeding programs, and we expect to continue to do so in the years to come.
The state food bank network covers 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)
- Food Bank of Central New York (located in Syracuse)
- 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).
- Feeding Westchester (located in Elmsford)
- Island Harvest (Bethpage)
- City Harvest (New York City)
- Long Island Cares, Inc.
What We Do
The Food Bank Association is incorporated as a non-profit whose mission is to lead a unified effort for a hunger-free New York State. The Association is located in Albany, and works to provide hunger relief in a variety of ways:
- 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
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. The Food Banks of New York State provide millions of pounds of food to New York’s neediest each year, through thousands of hunger prevention programs. Without the food bank network, these programs would face food and resource shortages, leaving millions of people hungry.
Where Do Food Banks Get Their Food?
Food banks get their food through donations, salvaged products, 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. While we do receive help from these large organizations, our main support comes from thoughtful people who donate time, food, and money.