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For Immediate Release
March 31, 2009
For More Information Call:
Task Force on Food, Farm and Nutrition Policy
(518) 455-5203

Assemblyman José Rivera Helps Preserve Nutrition Programs

Adds funds to fight hunger and feed seniors, preserves funding to prevent childhood obesity, prevent diabetes, and treat eating disorders. Federal stimulus also helps New Yorkers struggling through recession.

Albany - Assemblyman José Rivera (Bronx), the Chair of the Assembly Task Force on Food, Farm and Nutrition Policy announced that the State budget spared nutrition programs in a year some describe as the worst financial crisis in New York history. He also welcomed the federal stimulus spending on food programs and the first increase in State public assistance payments in almost 20 years.

Rivera stated, "Many programs were cut in the budget, but we were able to help protect the working families and seniors who are struggling to put food on the table and maintain their health in these difficult times. Despite trying to close a huge deficit we were able to add funding for food pantries and soup kitchens, senior home delivered meal programs and childhood obesity prevention. In addition, our budget includes new federal stimulus funds for emergency food, school meal programs, senior meals, WIC and the Food Stamp program. We maintained funding for programs to treat diabetes, and obesity which severely impact low-income communities. We also increased welfare benefits after 20 long years, if Wall St. CEOs can get a government bonus so can mothers and their children who are barely surviving."

The 2008-09 State budget required reductions in spending in April and August, 2008. The 2009-10 funding generally restores nutrition programs to April's or previous years' funding levels, except for: the hunger prevention funding for foodbanks, soup kitchens and food pantries - $3 million increase from the original 2008-09; the senior home-delivered meal programs - $600,000 increase; and, childhood obesity prevention - $760,000 increase. The new budget restores $920,000 that would have been cut for Nutrition Outreach programs to enroll eligible families in nutrition programs. Assemblyman Rivera led the fight to restore those funds.

In addition, the federal stimulus spending over the next two years supports NY's nutrition program participants.

The budget also provides the first increase in the public assistance cash grant since the early 1990s, 30% over three years which represents about a $100 per month total increase for a family of three.

"I look forward to working with our friends in the State Senate, the Governor, and the President and Congress, to support struggling families and seniors get nutritious food to improve their health and productivity and help their children reach their potential. I believe that we can do even more to use nutrition assistance and education to reach those goals and will continue to work to improve food policy for consumers, food businesses and farmers." said Rivera.

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