Assemblyman Matt Slater (R,C-Yorktown) joined by Putnam County Executive, Kevin Byrne held a roundtable discussion on Friday, Nov. 3, 2023, on ways to combat food insecurity in the 94th district and state of New York as a whole. As town supervisor, Slater established the Food Security Task Force in Yorktown to facilitate resources and data sharing among food pantries to improve support in vulnerable neighborhoods.
CHHOP, Feeding Westchester, New York Presbyterian Hospital, Putnam Valley food pantry, Putnam Community Action Partnership, were a few of the 13 organizations that joined in this discussion. They all provided insight on the organizations’ experiences, including coordinating distribution, complying with state regulations, grant writing, filing various applications and handling enormous amounts of paperwork required from most nonprofit organizations seeking funds.
Slater suggested addressing these issues by simplifying specific financial processes. Additionally, he recommended establishing a food czar to supervise the coordination of various elements and ensuring that initiatives were not duplicated. Coordinating with other departments to see what else can be done to better support, Slater intends to raise this conversation to a state level.
“Alongside our dedicated and hardworking local officials, I am committed to addressing and finding solutions for the ongoing food insecurity issue in New York to ensure every family and child has consistent access to food,” Assemblyman Slater said. “Thank you to everyone who took part in this critical roundtable discussion. The collaboration and expertise of our community leaders and organizations are invaluable in shaping effective strategies to combat food insecurity in the 94th district and across the state of New York.”
“I’d like to thank Assemblyman Slater for bringing all of us together. I thought it was very informative and it was wonderful to have the opportunity to speak with so many people who are doing the same work and see what challenges they are facing and how they are overcoming those challenges. It was also a great opportunity for all of us to have the ear of someone in Albany to explain our challenges and the help we need from the government. Looking forward to the opportunity for more interaction with everyone,” said Warden / Director of Operations of St. Mary’s food pantry, Cindy Smith.
“Putnam CAP appreciates Assemblyman Matt Slater’s support in addressing food insecurity in Putnam County. Even though Putnam County has one of the lowest poverty rates in NYS, almost one third of its residents are still struggling to meet their basic needs. Funding is needed to support our emergency food providers who work tirelessly every day to address food insecurity. We are grateful for the platform to discuss the needs of our community and to advocate for funding and strategies to address those needs,” said Director of Putnam Community Action Partnership, Marisa O’Leary.
As we inch closer to the new year and the 2024 session coming up, Slater’s top priority going into it is establishing fully funded school meals for all. Progress was made this year however, many districts have been cut short of receiving any funds as Brewster is the only one in the 94th district to receive full funding.