Food pantries, soup kitchens across county face another challenging year

NORWICH – Food pantries and soup kitchens throughout Chenango County face another challenging year ahead as threats for cuts in state and federal funding loom.

After last year’s devastating cut of more than $23,000 from the federal Emergency Food and Shelter Program (EFSP), hopes of seeing that funding return have diminished, said United Way Director Elizabeth Monaco. The Chenango United Way - the EFSP allocation hub for 17 food pantries and soup kitchens in the county - says the county may not meet the guidelines set by the Federal Emergency Management Association for EFSP funding which looks at unemployment and poverty rates in the county to determine eligibility.

The slash in federal funding in 2012 was the first in over 30 years. Of the five surrounding counties, only Broome will receive EFSP funding for 2014 for its local food pantries. Once ineligible based on poverty and unemployment rates, the county remains ineligible until those numbers change, explained Monaco.

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