Senator Hassell-Thompson urges Colleagues and Staff to Combat Hunger in the Capital District

Ruth Hassell-Thompson

May 19, 2009

Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson invites colleagues and staff to combat hunger in the Capital Region by donating non-perishable goods to the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York.  

  “While we are in Albany representing our diverse constituencies from all over the State, we have a unique opportunity to contribute to the local economy and to affect the lives of the local citizens.  At a time when the demand for food banks has significantly outpaced the available supply, it seemed only right to invite my colleagues and their staff to help contribute to ameliorating hunger throughout the Capital Region,”   said Senator Hassell-Thompson. 

 Hunger and the resulting lack of nutrition are major public health threats for the most vulnerable New Yorkers.   In recent months demand for food at emergency feeding programs and food banks has significantly increased to some of the highest levels in decades. “While the state of the economy continues to be perilous, even in difficult financial times like these, the poor and vulnerable deserve a healthy meal.  It is critically important to ensure that the most vulnerable residents have sufficient access to food and nutritional supports,” said Senator Hassell-Thompson, a former practicing nurse.   

 “I extend sincere thanks to Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson for coordinating a food drive at the LOB to benefit the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York,” commented Mark Quandt, the Food Bank’s Executive Director. “This effort to fight hunger is much appreciated and will make a real difference in the lives of families struggling to make ends meet,” he added.

“The food pantries and soup kitchens we serve are reporting record numbers of new families coming to them for help. This is likely due to the uncertain economy, which is pushing many people into poverty. People used to donating to charities find themselves in the unfortunate and unfamiliar position of asking those charities for help,” remarked Quandt

“This phenomenon puts a double strain on food relief organizations. Not only are these agencies feeding more people, they’re having to do it with fewer resources. That is why this contribution means so much to us…and to them,” he concluded.

The Capital Region has not been exempt from the economic recession.  In the last 5 months, unemployment  in the  Capital Region has risen from 5 percent  to over 7.3 percent.   Food banks all over the Country and State are seeing an increase in families in need.  For the Month of May the Senator invited her colleagues and staff to donate non-perishable goods to her office which will be donated to the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York.

  The Regional Food Bank has been helping to feed the poor and hungry in the region since 1982. It is the only organization of its kind in northeastern New York.  From Plattsburgh to Newburgh, in urban, rural, and suburban communities, the Food Bank provides nearly 20 million pounds of food a year to over 1,000 agencies.

 ”I hope a great number of people participate in the food drive, said Hassell-Thompson, “if everyone brought just one can we will be able to feed a large number of needy families in the Capital Region”.