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August 2015 News

Fighting Hunger
From the Top Down, and Bottom Up

FEEDING MINDS: The Trust-supported Lunch4Learning campaign gets students, teachers, and parents to weigh in on the importance of free lunch in school.
It’s been seven years since the recession hit, yet 14 percent of New York families still struggle with hunger. We’re funding efforts to improve State and City food policies. These efforts take time, so we’re also supporting groups that help people get food and jobs—today.

First, the policies: Last year, Governor Andrew Cuomo appointed an Anti-Hunger Task Force. That’s a start, but what will happen with the recommendations? With $100,000 from The Trust, the Campaign for Strong Communities will work with Make the Road New York to insure that the Task Force’s recommendations “are carried out while advancing other necessary programs to guarantee all New Yorkers are adequately fed,” says Arthur Malkin, a partner in Malkin & Ross in Albany, which is working with the Campaign.

In the City, one fight against hunger takes place in school cafeterias. Lunch for students is subsidized or free for those who qualify and enroll. This creates a stigma against anyone with a lunch tray—even those paying full price. “Kids who get cafeteria lunch are labeled as poor and often bullied or feel humiliated,” says Elizabeth Accles, director of Community Food Advocates, a leader in the Lunch4Learning campaign. “As they get older, fewer eat lunch because of the poverty stigma.”

Last year, our support helped the coalition win universal free lunch at all public middle schools in the City. It worked: 10,000 more middle schoolers are eating lunch. Our new $50,000 grant will help the group advocate for free lunch at the City’s elementary and high schools. While those longer-term projects take shape, we’re funding two programs helping New Yorkers struggling with poverty:

  • City Harvest will use our $100,000 to expand its Healthy Neighborhoods Initiative, which sets up mobile produce markets and healthy cooking demonstrations in poor neighborhoods, and nutrition workshops at schools.
  • If you’re getting meals at a food pantry, chances are you need job help as well. The Food Bank for New York City is working with its member pantries and food kitchens to provide employment services. We just committed $250,000 to this important effort.

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