AMSTERDAM, NY – Senator Michelle Hinchey today announced a $50,000 grant awarded by her office to Amen Place Soup Kitchen in Amsterdam, New York through the State and Municipal Facilities Capital (SAM) grant program. The funding will be used to purchase a new cargo truck that will help transport food to over 650 families across Albany, Montgomery, and Schenectady Counties who rely on the food pantry’s services. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Amen Place has distributed over 3 million pounds of food and more than 1,000 tons of personal care items to their client network.
“Amen Place Soup Kitchen is an instrumental community resource that helps hundreds of food-insecure families put meals on the table each week, and it is a privilege to help this incredible volunteer-powered pantry expand access to fresh food for people in need,” Senator Michelle Hinchey said. “As New York’s hunger crisis skyrocketed during COVID, organizations like Amen Place have been–and continue to be–a safety net for struggling families as more people have turned to their local food bank for support. Closing the gap on food insecurity is a top priority of mine, and I will keep fighting until every child and family across New York State has equitable access to the healthy, local food they deserve.”
Chris Carpenter, Amen Place Soup Kitchen Community Liaison, said, “Senator Hinchey’s compassion is contagious, and her love for the people of New York is inspiring. All of us at the Amen Place Soup Kitchen thank Senator Hinchey for her continued support, and we recognize her efforts to bring much needed funding to state food insecurity challenges, and food pantries like ours. Because of Senator Hinchey’s commitment to agencies like ours, we’re going to be able to secure a much needed new vehicle to assist us in acquiring food for the families who rely on our services. Words cannot describe how truly grateful we are to have such a caring and committed Public Servant in the New York State Senate.”
As Chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, Senator Hinchey has led the charge on several initiatives that have expanded access to fresh food for New Yorkers across the Empire State, including sponsoring the legislation (S4892A) that made Nourish New York a permanent state program. This created a new market for upstate farmers that now allows them to sell their products directly to emergency food providers to help fight hunger.
This year, Hinchey also championed statewide funding for Double Up Food Bucks–a national nutrition incentive program that matches SNAP-eligible purchases $1 for $1, up to $20 per day, toward the purchase of fresh fruits and vegetables. In June, Hinchey led a bipartisan coalition that called on Congress to extend the Federal Child Nutrition Program Waiver, which allowed school nutrition programs, local government agencies, and nonprofit organizations to offer free breakfast and lunch to all students in need despite COVID challenges, including school closures and virtual learning. Initiatives that remain priorities for the 2023 legislative session include Senator Hinchey’s bill (S6808A) to expand healthy food access by setting first-ever food procurement goals for state agencies so that by 2024, 25% of all food purchased by state agencies is food grown by New York farmers.