hunger action network

WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

New York State's food banks are asking state leaders for $16 million to address a worsening hunger problem.

WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

  Food banks in New York state are urging state officials to increase funding for anti-hunger programs, saying that while donations are down the demand for food is up. 
WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

Long-time anti-poverty advocate Mark Dunlea became the face and voice of the Hunger Action Network of New York State, leading the activist group for 29 years. He's decided to step down and pursue another cause - Dunlea recently sat down with WAMC's Capital Region Bureau Chief Dave Lucas.

Susan Zimet

The Hunger Action Network of New York has new leadership.

Hunger Action Network, started in 1982, is a statewide membership organization of emergency food providers, advocates, faith groups and low-income New Yorkers whose goal is to end hunger and its root causes, including poverty, in New York.

Long time "frontman" for the organization, executive director Mark Dunlea, is leaving the agency after 29 years to work on climate change

WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

Across America, it is a week of dichotomy. For many, Thursday means a massive feast, but Thanksgiving also helps shed light on the 17 percent of Americans who struggle with food insecurity. Faith groups, low-income residents, anti-hunger groups, and Congressman Paul Tonko assembled today in Albany at Emmanuel Baptist Church for the annual Thanksgiving Action Against Hunger.

WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

A new report from Feeding America shows 50 million Americans rely on food banks and 1 in 7 Americans face food insecurity. It also links substandard nutrition to health problems.

The report entitled "Hunger in America 2014" has revealed some startling statistics: One in seven Americans turns to a food bank for help, about 40 percent of whom have education beyond high school.

NYC Food Bank In Albany

Feb 26, 2014
Billy Brown, flickr

Food Bank For New York City is in Albany today to participate in the first annual Anti-Hunger Advocacy Day.  The advocates are joining colleagues from New York State’s seven other food banks. Officials plan to meet with State Legislators to discuss steps to preserve vital anti-hunger resources for New Yorkers.

Food Bank For New York City President & CEO Margarette Purvis praises Governor Cuomo, saying he has worked to - quote - "... make sure that our neighbors are not left exposed to the cruel whims of Washington.”

WAMC Photo by Dave Lucas

On the same day he delivered his State of The Union address this week, President Barack Obama announced that he was increasing the minimum wage for federal contractor workers to $10.10 per hour. There’s mixed reaction to the idea...

The federal minimum wages stands at $7.25 an hour. Many agree that raising the minimum wage re-adjusts it to 1960s levels; for example, the $1.60 minimum wage of 1968 was worth more than $10.50 in 2013 dollars. 

Mark Dunlea

Protesters greeted Governor Andrew Cuomo when he appeared at New York City's Harvard Club for a re-election campaign "conversation" Thursday.

About 100 demonstrators carried signs and recited chants, urging Cuomo to move to raise the state minimum wage and ban hydrofracking. Community activist Jo Ann Lum: "So we're out here to say, like, Cuomo, you messed up with the minimum wage bill that you passed. You gotta take steps immediately to make sure this is straightened out."

SOS coalition

With a focus on addressing income inequality for 2014, a coalition of political action groups gathered Tuesday at noon at the State Capitol State Street entrance for the 24th annual People's State of the State rally.

"Biden is here today. Obama will talk about income and equality. De Blasio will talk about income and equality. But where is our Governor in the most unequal state in the country on income and equality?" That's  Sara Niccoli with the New York State Labor Religion Coalition, leading the call at the People's State of the State rally.

Karen DeWitt

A broad coalition of farming, conservation and environmental organizations are applauding Governor Andrew Cuomo for approving legislation that will strengthen the state’s local-food economy and protect New York farms.

The coalition is excited that Cuomo has approved food-related bills, hailing them as "good for farmers and consumers."  Mark Dunlea is Executive Director of the Hunger Action Network of New York State.  "The one we've been working on the hardest had been to get the state to begin to collect data on how much local food they were actually purchasing."

WAMC composite image by Dave Lucas

Anti-hunger groups are calling on one of New York's U.S. Senators to block cuts to food stamps.

Anti-hunger activists have launched a statewide campaign urging New York Senator Chuck Schumer to vote against any farm bill that includes cuts in food-stamp funding. They also want Schumer to push to restore recent cuts.

fastfoodforward.org

Fast-food workers are planning to stage one-day strikes and protest activities in 200 American cities Thursday in hopes of building support for increasing their wages to $15 an hour.

Cooked turkey
Wikipedia

With Thanksgiving approaching, New Yorkers have been bracing for the impact of cuts to the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. That impact may not be as severe as initially thought...

AARP New York is out with new recommendations aimed at helping the estimated 50 percent of older adults in New York State who may be eligible but are not receiving nutrition help through the SNAP, or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly called food stamps.

The AARP white paper, entitled “Hunger Among Older Adults: Breaking Down the Barriers,” came out Thursday, the same day the Hunger Action Network released a paper critical of the New York Food Policy Council.

WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

The Hunger Action Network of New York State released a performance audit of the New York State Food Policy Council today.

The report examines how well, over the past six years, the Food Policy Council has met the directives of the executive order that created it. Mark Dunlea, Executive Director of the Hunger Action Network of New York State, says the paper found that the Council had few initiatives it could point to as success stories over the years.

Advocates for middle- and low-income families in New York are puzzled by the initiative in Congress to cut SNAP benefits. They want to save the food stamp program that keeps millions of Americans from going hungry.

This week the House will vote on a bill that would slash $40 billion from the SNAP program over a 10-year period. Advocates argue the cut would deny between 4 and 6 million people food stamps. The new legislation would also allow states to require SNAP recipients to work.

taxcredits.net

Social workers across New York are “rankled” by a report from the libertarian CATO Institute that says people on public assistance have little incentive to find work because they make more than they would with a minimum-wage job.

As the Farm Bill moves through the Senate Agriculture Committee and eventually on to the full Senate, New York U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand leads one-third of the Senate in calling for the protection of critical food assistance, urging her colleagues not to balance the budget deficit by cutting food stamps. 

The Farm Bill under consideration would slash $4.1 billion in food stamps funding over the next decade. Government statistics show that half of food stamp beneficiaries are children.

Dave Lucas / WAMC

An advocacy group is calling on Governor Andrew Cuomo to raise New York's Minimum Wage for tip workers...

The Hunger Action Network Friday said that New York State should raise the minimum wage for tip workers to the same level as other workers. Presently, most tip workers in NYS receive a minimum wage of 69% of other workers.

"Food Hardship" is a growing problem in America.  New data from FRAC - the Food Research and Action Center - shows 1 in 6 of us can't afford to buy enough food for ourselves or our families. Those studying FRAC's report blame the economy and say government isn't doing enough to fill a growing need.

Emergency Food Programs continue to struggle during a recession to feed a growing number of hungry people in our region. Activists says a new study of hunger in New York State shows that emergency food programs can ever be a substitute for increased government action to end the growing problem of hunger.

Mark Dunlea, Executive Director of the Hunger Action Network in NYS, says instead of dealing with emergencies, food pantries and soup kitchens over the last 30 years have been forced by government inaction to evolve into supplemental sources of food for households who need assistance on an ongoing basis.