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State Ag visits Food Bank

Richard A. Ball, Commissioner of New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, visited the Food Bank of the Southern Tier Wednesday, September 25 in recognition of Hunger Action Month. Commissioner Ball, local legislators and other food system representatives toured the Food Bank’s 65,000 square-foot facility, helped pack apples from Reisinger’s Apple Country in Watkins Glen and discussed the role of NYS agriculture in state emergency food assistance systems.

Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, “By recognizing Hunger Action Month and taking part in activities to help our neighbors in need, we can increase awareness and inspire solutions that will connect more farmers, growers, producers and non-profits with more New Yorkers so we can make real gains in the fight against hunger and put more healthy, nutritious food on tables across the State. It also provides us with the opportunity to highlight the work and dedication that our non-profit partners, like the Food Bank of the Southern Tier, as well as members of our Council on Hunger and Food Policy, put into combating hunger on a daily basis.”

Natasha R. Thompson, Food Bank President & CEO, said, “New York State farmers are committed and incredibly generous to our state’s food banks. We are extremely thankful for the support and partnership we have with NYS growers and producers. Access to fresh fruits and vegetables is essential in the fight against hunger and food insecurity and helps to create and promote healthy communities. We are honored to host Commissioner Ball today as he has been a tireless advocate for our work.”  

Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo, Chair of the Assembly Committee on Agriculture, said, “During Hunger Action Month, it’s important to remember that access to fresh, local food should not be a luxury. The nationally-recognized Food Bank of the Southern Tier works with farmers, producers, non-profits, and others to provide high quality food to residents in a six county region. Programs like the Mobile Food Pantry, the Kids’ Farmers Market and Healthy Harvest are helping to put fresh food on more tables throughout the community while also encouraging healthier lifestyles.”

New York State Senator Tom O’Mara said, “The Food Bank of the Southern Tier and its counterparts statewide, together with an outstanding commitment from New York State farmers, form an incredible partnership working to provide access to nutritious, fresh, high-quality, locally produced food for children and families, seniors, and so many others in need.  We appreciate the opportunities Hunger Action Month offers to help raise awareness, and of course we are grateful to everyone at the Food Bank of the Southern Tier and our farmers for their leadership.”

Representatives from Feeding New York State, New York Farm Bureau, Turning Point Food Pantry in Bath, the Food and Health Network in Binghamton, and Broome Tioga BOCES Food Services attended, as did State Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo and Assemblyman Phil Palmesano. Rick Reisinger, of Reisinger’s Apple Country, also attended.

Hunger Action Month in September is a time of heightened awareness around food insecurity issues. Hunger is a reality for more than 72,600 people in the Southern Tier, 1 in 8 adults and 1 in 5 children face food insecurity. Last year, the Food Bank distributed 9.5 million meals through direct service programs and our partner networks, including 2.3 million lbs of fresh produce. To learn how you can take action against hunger in our communities, click here.

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