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Statement from the President & CEO

From Natasha R. Thompson,
President & CEO of the Food Bank of the Southern Tier

Dear Friends,

The Food Bank of the Southern Tier has been a trusted leader on hunger and food insecurity issues in our community for nearly 40 years. We are committed to creating a future without hunger, where access to healthy food by all is recognized as fundamental to the wellbeing and success of individuals and the foundation of a strong, vibrant society. Through our work, we understand that food security and racial equity are inextricably linked.

Systemic racism has created generational trauma and led to poorer health, academic, and other outcomes for those who experience it daily. Black families are more than twice as likely to live in poverty and experience food insecurity than white families. Even here in the Southern Tier, people of color are more likely to live in “food deserts” – communities where healthy food is more expensive and harder to find. Lack of access to healthy food has contributed to higher rates of chronic illness like diabetes and heart disease among black Americans.

We know that food alone will not end hunger. Recent events across the country have served as a stark reminder that our organization, and the anti-hunger movement, can and should be doing more to address systemic racism as an integral part of our hunger-relief work. We understand that we don’t have all the answers and words alone cannot fix what is broken.

Therefore, we are committed to applying an equity lens to all aspects of our work to address both past and present disparities that impact the health and well-being of our communities. We know this will be challenging. It will force us to confront uncomfortable truths and have difficult conversations both internally and externally. We are ready to take responsible action to build and sustain hunger-free communities for ALL and encourage our network of partners and supporters to join us in these efforts.