State funding keeps food pantry shelves stocked

CHENANGO COUNTY Despite being turned away from federal funding for the second consecutive year, area food pantries were recently given reason to breath a small sigh of relief.

It was announced last week that the Food Bank of Central New York, the conduit of state funding for local food pantries, will receive $382,722 from the New York State Set-Aside Board to allocate to 268 food programs encompassing 11 counties, including Chenango. Funding comes as part of a larger $4.5 million in state grants to help 2,600 emergency food providers statewide respond to an increased need for food assistance that resulted from the $5 billion in federal funding cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in November.

The Emergency Food and Shelter Board of Chenango County says the area is slated to receive nearly $12,000 in funding to help local food pantries and soup kitchens close the gap created by the loss of federal assistance. Food programs must apply for funding by Dec. 31 to be eligible. The board will allocate funding on Jan. 9.

To date, there are 18 food pantries and soup kitchens in the county that are able to receive funding. However, more may have been founded since funding was last allocated earlier this year, explained Elizabeth Monaco, chair of the Chenango Emergency Food and Shelter Board.

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