Feeding New York State, the state association of New York’s 10 Feeding America member food banks, has reached the five-million-pound collection milestone as part of the ongoing implementation of the New York State Food Donation and Food Scraps Recycling Law that reduces waste and climate-altering emissions caused by landfilling, while providing quality food to New Yorkers in need.
The state says this latest milestone is a direct result of DEC funding to Feeding New York State to capture new food donations and help build stronger, healthier communities.
The New York State Food Donation and Food Scraps Recycling Law continues to see more food managed sustainably and diverted away from disposal at the state’s largest food-related businesses. To support the law’s implementation and successful food donations, DEC provided $4.8 million to Feeding New York State (Feeding NYS) and the 10 regional food banks through the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) to dramatically increase donations beginning in October 2021. The funds are used by Feeding NYS to deploy staff to grocery stores, restaurants, colleges, and other food industry facilities to increase participation in the program and encourage food donations. The fund also supported several equipment purchases for the 10 regional food banks to increase food pickup capabilities at food pantries, meal centers, and other partner agencies.
The partnership between New York State and Feeding NYS is a nation-leading model for food diversion programs. The implementation of the law and investments by New York to put the program into action helped successfully divert millions of pounds of food to those in need. As of October 2023, Feeding NYS reported receiving more than 300,000 pounds of monthly food donations over the last six months, with an increasing number almost every month. This is a significant increase from 50-60,000 pounds per month when the program first launched in October 2021. The program previously reached the one-million-pound food donation milestone in August 2022.
With big game hunting season underway across the state, New York’s hunters are reminded that they can continue to help with food insecurity by participating in venison donation efforts. Each year, DEC partners with the Venison Donation Coalition and Feeding NYS to help provide food for those in need. Through a cooperative relationship involving the New York State Department of Health, not-for-profit organizations like Feeding New York State’s regional food banks, and deer processors, hunters contribute nearly 40 tons of venison each year to needy families across the state. In 2022, DEC issued more than $16,000 in hunter donated funds to Feeding NYS and more than $8,000 to the Venison Donation Coalition.