By Steve Yablonski
The Food Bank of Central New York is a nonprofit organization working to eliminate hunger through nutritious food distribution, education and advocacy in cooperation with the community.
It works with a network of more than 400 agencies and spans 11 counties in Central and Northern New York.
The Food Bank is the hub of food distribution.
It acquires food from the federal government through the USDA commodities program and donated food from local retailers, manufacturers, distributors and growers, as well as purchases food.
The food comes into its central warehouse location in the town of Van Buren. It is then distributed by a fleet of 15 vehicles to its network of partners.
During 2021, the Food Bank distributed more than 18.6 million pounds of food, with a focus on fresh produce, dairy products, lean proteins, as well as shelf-stable pantry staples.
Food Bank of Central New York is funded through many public and private entities and heavily relies on donations from local businesses, organizations and individuals. In addition, more than 600 individuals donated more than 7,000 hours of time to the Food Bank last year.
The Food Bank of Central New York is an essential response agency to the COVID-19 pandemic.
With the number of individuals and families in need of emergency food assistance now lower than they were than at the height of the pandemic, increased food costs, the expiration of many government pandemic assistance programs and higher food costs mean that many families are facing difficulties making ends meet.
With resources from New York State through the Nourish New York program, grants, corporate and individuals’ donations, as well as many partnerships and collaborations, it has been able to meet the demand for nutritious food.
If people are in need of assistance, they can call 315-437-1899.
The Food Bank has extensive materials on its website, including a Find Food tool at foodbankcny.org. They also work with 211 to handle referral calls after hours.
Featured image: Food Bank staff and volunteers distribute food to veterans struggling with hunger outside the VA Medical Center in Syracuse. This distribution was in partnership with the VA Medical Center and Clear Path for Veterans.