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Introduction Started in 1982, Hunger Action Network is a membership organization of emergency food providers, advocates, faith groups and low-income individuals whose goal is to end hunger and its root causes, including poverty, in NYS. Over the last three decades Hunger Action has had the dual goals of reducing hunger today (e.g., increase funding for emergency food, strengthening the food stamp programs, creating more community gardens) while promoting long-term solutions such as universal health care, living wage jobs and affordable housing. Hunger Action Network was organized by the state’s emergency food programs (EFPs) and food banks to serve as the public advocacy voice of the anti-hunger movement. Today, there are approximately 3,000 food pantries and soup kitchens in the state serving an estimated three million New Yorkers annually. As part of our 30th anniversary, we decided to conduct a survey of EFPs to assess their present needs and barriers they experience in helping to feed New Yorkers. Our first survey of EFPs was done in 1991. We did our first survey of EFP guests in 1987. The survey information will be used to help shape Hunger Action Network's advocacy efforts, including how better to meet the needs of EFPs. Throughout its 30 year history, Hunger Action has played a critical role in helping EFPs innovate to better assist their guests in combating hunger, based on feedback such as surveys from EFPs. Hunger Action Network has taken a statewide leadership role in helping EFPs add additional services (e.g., assisting guests in obtaining food stamps and other nutritional programs, promotion of guests growing food) while also providing training in advocacy skills. Hunger Action has played a pivotal role both in increasing state funding for emergency food programs and changing how such funds can be utilized (e.g., used for capital equipment, operating expenses, fruits and vegetables). Hunger Action has promoted the development of EFP vegetable gardens and EFPs participation in Grow an Extra Row projects; secured government funding for the capital equipment and operating needs of EFPs; increased the use of food stamps at farmers markets; promoted an increased emphasis on nutritional quality and purchase of local foods; and, assisted in the development of a low-income component of Community Supported Agriculture projects in NYC. It started the largest gleaning project in NYS. Distribution of food by EFPs primarily addresses the symptoms rather than the causes of hunger. Hunger Action has always pursued the goal of moving the focus of anti-hunger efforts from charity to justice, recognizing that ending hunger requires solving the problems that cause hunger (e.g., lack of income, high rent and utility bills, poverty or below-living wage jobs). Overview of Hunger and Poverty Many emergency food programs - soup kitchens and food pantries - were organized following the 1981 federal budget cuts, which made deeply slashed funding for many human service programs including nutrition and housing. The loss of housing subsidies was especially critical, as households were forced to divert part of their food budget to pay for their shelter.
In 1977, a few years prior to these federal cuts, the Field Foundation had reported to Congress that hunger in America had been substantially reduced over the previous decade due to programs such as food stamp (now SNAP), Head Start, School lunch and breakfast and WIC (Women, Infants and Children). By 1982, the Harvard-based Physician's Task Force on Hunger reported that hunger was at epidemic proportions. We don't know how many EFPs there were in NYS in 1980, but in all of NYC there were only 3. By 1988 there were more than 600. Today there are around 1,300. According to data released in September 2012 by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the %age of food insecure households in NYS increased from 12.9% in 2008-2010 to 13.3% in 20092012. New York however was slightly below the national average of 14.6% food insecurity. 5.1% of New York households were considered to have “very low food security” – households with the deepest struggles, regularly skipping meals, or cutting the amounts eaten below what is needed. 14.8% of children under the age of 18 are food insecure in NYS, according to a study by Feeding America, a national anti-hunger organization. USDA also found that more than 5.1% of Americans had used a food pantry in the last year, while .6% used a soup kitchen. 7.7% of households nationally with children had used a food pantry. Among those living below poverty, 19.8% had used a pantry in the last year; 17.5% if income below 130%; and 14.4% if income below 185%. Nearly a third of the state are either poor (15%) or near poor (below 150% of the poverty level); 40% of the residents in NYC fall below 200% of poverty. A majority of children in the cities of Rochester (53.9%), Syracuse (53.0%) and Schenectady (50.8%) "officially" live in poverty. The poverty rate for children in Buffalo is 46.8%, while in Albany it is 37.0%. Nationwide, of the number of people receiving assistance from charitable food programs in 2010, 42% are black, 27% are Hispanic, 23% are white (Hunger in America 2010. Feeding America) Feeding America does regular surveys of hunger through their national food bank network. Some findings about EFP guests from their 2010 report:
70% of households have incomes below the federal poverty line. The average monthly income for client households is $940. 79% of households report incomes below the official federal poverty level; 88% of clients report income in the prior month below 130% of poverty, the eligibility level for SNAP; 96% report incomes below 185% of the poverty level. 12% of households report receiving cash assistance (welfare) 31% of households report receiving Social Security benefits and 18% report receiving federal Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Only 7% of households report receiving unemployment insurance payments in the prior month. 36% of households have one or more adults who are working. 38% of clients are under 18 years old. 10% of client households are homeless. More than one-third of client households report having to choose between food and other basic necessities, such as rent, utilities and medical care.
One in four client households (24%) do not have health insurance and nearly half of our adult clients report that they have unpaid medical and hospital bills. Thirty percent of households report having at least one member of their household in poor health. 54.4% of pantries, 33.5% of kitchens, and 31.4% of shelters receive food from TEFAP. 41% of client households are receiving SNAP (formerly food stamps) benefits, an increase of 64% over 2006. 54% of client households with children ages 0 to 3 participate in the WIC program, compared to 51% in 2006. Among households with school-age children, 62% participate in the federal school lunch program and 54% participate in the school breakfast program. 68% of pantries, 42% of soup kitchens, and 15% of emergency shelters rely solely on volunteers and have no paid staff. 55%, are faith-based agencies affiliated with churches, mosques, synagogues and other religious organizations; 33 % are other types of nonprofit organizations.
Among the key findings of Feeding America's report:
Emergency food from pantries is no longer being used simply to meet temporary acute food needs. A majority of the clients being served by the Feeding America network (54%) have visited a food pantry in six or more months during the past year. Seniors are disproportionately represented among clients visiting pantries in six or more months during the prior year. Over half (56%) of elderly clients aged 65+ are recurrent clients, meaning they have used a pantry every month within the past year.
METHODOLOGY The survey was mailed in early September to a list provided by the NYS Department of Health's Bureau of Nutrition Risk Reduction - Hunger Prevention and Nutrition Assistance Program of 2,500 emergency food programs. These programs are receiving or have received state HPNAP funding. Programs were provided the options of filling out and mailing in the survey; filling out the survey on line; or, being interviewed by Hunger Action Network. Most mailed in the survey, though perhaps 25% were done online. Hunger Action Network also distributed information about the survey through e-mails, its webpage and face book, and contacts with EFP coalitions, and local meetings. 560 surveys were filled out. If programs operated both a soup kitchen and a food pantry, they were asked to fill out a separate survey for each. The list of the counties participating is included below; virtually all counties participated and there was good geographical representation. Obtaining a 20% response rate from EFPs is very representative. However, since the mailing list was of programs funded through HPNAP, the responses under represent EFPs outside of the HPNAP and food bank system. The respondents were also self-selected rather than being determined randomly. It is likely that the more established programs with a strong core staff or volunteer base with good record keeping were more able to fill out the survey. Surveys were submitted by EFPs in 61 of the state's 62 counties: Albany - 12; Allegany - 5; Bronx - 39; Broome - 5; Cattaraugus - 7; Cayuga - 9; Chautauqua - 5; Chemung - 6; Chenango - 4; Clinton - 1; Columbia - 4; Cortland - 2; Delaware - 1; Dutchess - 13; Erie - 29; Essex -5; Franklin - 7; Fulton - 1; Genesee - 5; Greene - 3; Herkimer - 3; Jefferson - 7; Kings - 44; Lewis - 2; Livingston - 3; Madison - 2; Monroe - 29; Montgomery - 3; Nassau - 18; New York - 34; Niagara - 6; Oneida - 10; Onondaga - 17;
Ontario - 8; Orange - 10; Orleans - 5; Oswego - 4; Otsego - 3; Putnam - 5; Queens - 29; Rensselaer - 5; Richmond (SI) - 5; Rockland - 9; Saratoga - 7; Schenectady - 7; Schoharie - 4; Schuyler - 1; St. Lawrence - 4; Steuben - 10; Suffolk - 64; Tioga - 4; Tompkins - 3; Ulster - 7; Warren - 2; Washington - 4; Wayne 5; Westchester - 13; Wyoming - 5; Yates - 2 In developing the survey, Hunger Action Network reviewed surveys it has conducted of EFPs over the last 25 years. It also reviewed survey questions developed by NYC Coalition Against Hunger, Island Harvest, and food banks associated with Feeding America. These and other anti-hunger reports were also reviewed to identify existing demographics of EFPs and their guests; some of that information is included here. Acknowledgements Draft copies of the survey were distributed to emergency food programs and advocates for their input. This include New York City Coaltion Against Hunger; Doreen Wohl and Hannah Lupien of the West Side Campaign Against Hunger (New York); Christy Robb of St. John's Bread and Life (Brooklyn); Rev. Debra Jameson of FOCUS Churches in Albany; Kelly Ann Kowalski of Food for All (Buffalo); Schenectady Inner City Mission food pantry; and Denny Marsh and Amy Blauvelt of Neighbors Together (Brooklyn). These individuals were also consulted with respect to the recommendations developed by the report. We also contacted Feeding America to discuss their prior surveys and findings. The Bureau of Nutrition of the NYS Department of Health provided us with contact info for EFPs. Data analysis was done in excel. Assistance was provided by Masada Disenhouse. The report was written by Colleen St. Clair and Mark Dunlea. Editing by Deb Catozzi.
RECOMMENDATIONS Government Funding of Emergency Food Must be Increased Funding for the various government programs that support emergency food programs - HPNAP at the state, EFAP in NYC, TEFAP and FEMA (EFSP) nationally should be increased. We support at least the $10 million increase proposed by the NYSDOH Bureau of Nutrition, and a $3 million increase in funding for the food portion of EFAP. Some of the increased government funding for EFPs should be targeted for increased support for EFP's operating and capital equipment costs (freezers, transportation); to support the higher costs sometimes associated with purchasing healthier food; and for local food sources. EFPs also need funding for staff, particularly to assist guests in accessing other nutritional programs and government benefits. Increased funding should also be used to better assist large EFPs that feed a high number of guests; present funding formulas often fail to adequately reflect service levels. There should be more flexibility being given to programs as to how they may spend their HPNAP funds. The HPNAP application process should be clearer and easier. One problem with HPNAP is that the food can be expensive especially in light of the limited amount provided to each program. Often there are not enough choices in the various food groups to meet nutrition guidelines and there is often not enough fresh produce especially outside of harvest time. Provision of fresh milk needs to be increased. Support Services for Emergency Food Programs Needs to be Improved NYS and NYC should better maintain updated list of EFPs and their operating hours and service guidelines. The State and City need to improve collection of data regarding the utilization of EFPs and better incorporate it into decisions regarding funding for such efforts. NYS for instance has stopped conducting a census of EFPs. Anti-hunger advocacy organizations need to improve the quality, simplicity and presentation of materials for use by EFPs and their guests. Food drives need to do a better job on educating donors re healthy food and nutrition guidelines. Strengthen Support for EFPS for Fundraising, nutrition education, advocacy EFPs need more technical assistance and support for areas such as fundraising, nutrition, nutrition education, advocacy and client empowerment. This includes the need for funding for additional staff support. Technical assistance can be provided by means of webinars, seminars, conferences, and through site-visits by Significant improvements have been made in recent years at the state and city level to improve nutrition standards for emergency food. More attention needs to be paid to ensure that the organizations being paid to provide food supplies to the EFPs provide the food choices needed to implement the guidelines. Support is also needed to increase the availability of culturally appropriate foods. Emergency food programs would benefit from increased information about how the various nutrition programs operate and how proposed guidelines on nutrition standards affects and impacts their clientele and the community at large.
Many EFPs have embraced client choice in their food distribution to recognize the dignity of their guests and to give the clients more freedom in obtaining foods they want. Additional funding support and technical assistance for this effort would be helpful. In order to assist food programs in providing assistance to their clients in obtaining federal benefits, direct food providers need access to more educational materials that are easier to understand, and available in many languages. There must be continued efforts to educate food programs through workshops and seminars and webinars about benefit programs. Increase funding for EFP staff to assist with benefit advocacy is needed. More volunteers are needed at EFPs, especially for tasks other than putting food in bags. Volunteer recruitment efforts should be better targeted to actual needs of EFPs. Many EFPs would benefit from better coordination and networking among programs. Coordination and sharing services can improve the cost-effectiveness of programs and better enable them to expand the range of services provided to guests. It is expensive to maintain the human and capital infrastructure of several thousand EFPs, though decentralization can make it easier for residents who have have transportation barriers to access help in their own neighborhoods. Government Agencies Need to Make Access to Food a Critical Part of Emergency Planning The government needs to do more to assist EFPs in meeting food needs during emergencies and natural disasters. Hurricane Sandy exposed the vulnerability of food systems in major emergencies, including when there is a lack of access to electricity and transportation. The Governor should create a fund for EFPs to be utilized in cases of natural disasters. EFP Should not be Treated as the Government's First Response to Hunger. EFPs are not the long term solutions to hunger. They should be relied upon for emergencies, not as a monthly supplement for individuals whose government benefits and paychecks are too low to support a family. The state and local government should have a plan to reduce this reliance upon these programs, allowing them to be the last line of defense against hunger rather than the first. NYS and local districts need to ensure that individuals in emergency food situation receive expedited food stamps in a timely fashion in they are eligible. Government Funding and Support for More Fruits and Vegetables Needs to be Increased Overall government funding for food should focus on increasing access to healthy foods. This includes the Farm Bill. Government funding sources should routinely increase the percentage of purchased emergency food that is used for healthy, local fruits and vegetables. Government funding should switch from highly processed to minimally processed shelf-stable food when appropriate (i.e. beef stew/mac&cheese to dry beans and brown rice.) EFAP in NYC should be improved to provide fresh produce, reduce the amount of unhealthy foods, such as macaroni and cheese, and improve ordering flexibility. As a means to increase access to local fruits and vegetables by low-income individuals, direct sale partnerships between regional farmers and low-income residents needs to be encouraged by supporting
mobile market vans delivering food by the box and other mobile fresh food delivery systems and through food buying clubs, and CSAs. The Farm Bill must be reformed to support healthy foods rather than overly processed foods high in salt and fat. The proposed $100 million in the Farm bill for healthy food incentives to purchase fruits and vegetables at farmers markets should be increased; state and local funds should also be provided. City funding for the Health Buck programs should be increased, as well as state funding to expand its similar pilot program. EFPs Need to Be Consulted in Government Decisions Regarding Emergency Food Government agencies primarily deal with the large distribution programs in seeking feedback concerning emergency food. A formal role needs to be provided to those actually providing food to low-income individuals, as well as low-income individuals. Advisory boards made up of EFPs should be created at the City and State level to ensure direct input from such programs to the operations of HPNAP and EFAP. The needs and voices of EFPs need to be strengthened at every step of the emergency food delivery system. Funding for Affordable Housing Programs Must be Increased The number of EFPs in NYS skyrocketed immediately following the 1981 federal budget cuts. Those cuts must be rescinded, most critically, the funding for affordable housing programs. The public assistance shelter allowance needs to be increased to reflect actual housing costs. Government Action to End Root Causes of Hunger Must be Increased Increase funding for job creation targeted at low-income households, including a WPA-style public jobs initiative. Funding should be provided at the local, state and federal level for transitional jobs and subsidized employment for welfare participants and others who need job training. The minimum wage needs to be increased at both the state and federal level to $12 an hour. Other work supplements (EITC) need to be increased. Individuals who have a job should not have to use EFPs to feed their families. The basic welfare grant needs to be increased so that combined with food stamps, it provides an adequate income for households to obtain a healthy diet. The NYS Council on Food Policy needs to be overhauled to increase its effectiveness, including better addressing the problem of hunger. SNAP /Food Stamp and other Nutrition Benefits Programs Must be Strengthened SNAP is the most critical and effective anti-hunger program. Funding for food stamps /SNAP should be increased, not decreased, in the Farm Bill. Food Stamp benefits normally run by the third week of the month. Funding eligibility should be expanded (e.g., higher incomes, immigrants). Only about half of EFP guests receive food stamp benefits (less than 40% in NYC). State and local governments need to continue their efforts to make it easier to access food stamps and other government benefit programs. For instance, require Office for Temporary Disability Assistance (OTDA) and other agencies that administer means‐tested programs (i.e. LIHEAP, Medicare Savings
Program)to adjust their application forms to include an “Opt In” option that allows applicants to designate their interest in being enrolled in if they meet eligibility requirements. More funding is needed for government and community group efforts to educate individuals about their eligibility for food stamps (Nutrition Outreach and Education Program). The state should require all local districts to participate in all available USDA FNS waivers approved for New York State that would enhance access, eligibility, and/or benefit allotments, such as the standard medical deduction. At the federal level: - Use the USDA’s Low-Cost Food Plan, rather than the Thrifty Food Plan, as the basis for SNAP benefits, effectively increasing benefits by approximately 30 percent. - Raise the maximum shelter deduction so that SNAP benefits are adjusted to reflect variable regional housing costs. Increase the minimum SNAP benefit so that elderly households receive at least an amount that is equivalent in value to the floor set in the 1970s; fully allowing SNAP benefits to be adjusted when high housing costs consume more of a family’s income. - Strengthen The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP). Increase mandatory funding for TEFAP food and make the program more responsive to changes in need by tying funding to unemployment levels. Increase the latitude of USDA bonus commodity purchasing authority by linking it to emergency food assistance need, as well as to support agricultural markets. Make funding mandatory for TEFAP food storage, distribution, and handling. - Increase access to healthy food for the underserved. Ensure that farmers’ markets and participating farmers and Community Supported Agriculture programs (CSAs) can be equipped with cost effective EBT transaction processing capability. Support the expansion of the Community Food Projects Competitive Grant Program (CFP) for a total of $50 million over five years, to fight food insecurity by funding community food projects - including urban agriculture projects - that help promote those communities’ self-sufficiency. - Maintain funding levels for the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP) at $25 million per year to provide low-income seniors with coupons that can be exchanged for eligible fresh foods at farmers markets, roadside stands, and Community Supported Agriculture programs (CSAs). Make non-traditional (urban and community-based) agricultural production explicitly eligible for Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program funding. - Incentivize the purchase of healthy foods by providing at least $50 million a year in such funding and make federal matching funds available for programs that provide incentives for the purchase of fruits and vegetables by SNAP participants End Child Hunger While hunger for all New Yorkers should be ended, Governor Cuomo and President Obama need to follow through on their statements to end child hunger. Goals include. a. Ensure that all children have access to high quality, nutritious foods, local and regional whenever possible, in their schools and through other child nutrition programs;
b Reduce obesity and diet-related diseases and ensure productive, healthy generations; and c. Make federal child nutrition programs universal and more nutritious while reducing their administrative paperwork and bureaucracy. d. Increase funding for the various child nutrition programs, such as school and summer meals, and WIC Program (Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women). Schools should be required to adopt programs such as Breakfast in the Classroom to increase participation. School meals should be universal. e. Give programs more resources and technical assistance to serve all children with nutritious food, local and regional whenever possible, produced in an environmentally and economically sustainable manner. f. Make nutrition education available to all children and caregivers through child nutrition programs. End Hunger Among Seniors Twenty percent of EFP guests are seniors. More than half of the programs reported an increase in seniors in the last year. AARP has been leading efforts to address the increasing problem of hunger among seniors. In eight years, from 2001 – 2009, the number of Americans age 50+ threatened by hunger soared by 79 percent, to nearly 9 million people. Nationwide. just one-third of those 60+ who are eligible for SNAP are enrolled; two-thirds are not. Government funding for senior meals programs, including state funding for Meals on Wheels, should be increased. AARP's recommendations for SNAP include: 1. Establish a standard medical deduction for older adults, allowing those with higher than average out‐of‐pocket medical costs to use their real costs in the food stamp application. 2. Establish use of the IRS rate when calculating medical mileage in food stamp budgeting. Currently, counties can use their own rate, rather than the higher IRS rate, which can lead to a lower benefit amount. 3. Raise the minimum benefit for seniors. At the state and local level: 1. Simplify notices sent to households, so that they are easier for recipients to understand. We recommend the 8th grade reading level. 2. Enforce the federal mandate that all Food Stamp offices provide translation services to clients.
KEY FINDINGS The number of people using emergency food programs continues to grow. Food pantries reported an 8% increase in the number of people fed while soup kitchens saw a 2% increase. This is in addition to significant annual increases since the Great Recession started. Over the past year, 81% of EFPs saw an increase in guests. Half saw an increase in the number of employed individuals. Children represent about a third of the guests. EFPs have become institutionalized. A majority of programs have been open at least 20 years. At least in NYC a significant number of programs have closed in recent years. Rather than being for sudden emergencies, many of the guests regular income from work, retirement or safety net programs is too low to cover their monthly food costs. Government and private funding for emergency food has been declining. Almost 2/3 of the programs reported a decrease in funding. Both government funding and private funding have greatly decreased 89% of the programs reported the need to increase state funding for emergency food (HPNAP). 40% reported wanting more flexibility on how to spend HPNAP operations support. There is also the need for capital equipment and staff. The lack of jobs, high housing costs, and low wages are the three biggest reasons causing people to use EFPs. These three factors were cited by more than 80% of the respondent. About 60% of the programs identified education and training, health care costs and needs, and child care as secondary issues driving demand. Many EFPs need additional volunteers and technical assistance. 51% reported a need for volunteers in the areas of serving meals, packing bags, accounting, fun-raising, web design and legal assistance or a combination of these needs. Most EFPs (51%) want more assistance in raising funds. Other needs are help with nutrition education (42%) and client benefit advocacy (33%) Most EFPs incorporate nutrition standards into their programs. There has been a significant increase in the number of EFPs that utilize nutrition standards for the food distributed. Nutrition standards adopted by the state have been a major factor in this. 74% reported adopting nutrition standards, While more EFPs are helping guests obtain federal nutrition benefits, more help with outreach is needed, as well as improving the programs. More than 85% of the programs see helping their guests obtain federal nutrition benefits as part of their role. While SNAP is the program that most agencies promote, they are also involved with others. 71%
reported that they provide information on SNAP; 62% reported nutrition education; 56% Farmers market, 56% reported WIC; 42% senior meals; 41% summer meals; and 38% school meals. A majority (64%) of EFPs wants more information in the forms of leaflets /educational materials to provide to their clients; 44% want the materials to be easier to understand. 21% of responders report that the greatest barrier their clients face in obtaining federal benefits is “they think they are not eligible, even though they might be”. This shows a need to educate and inform clients about acquiring federal benefits. 20% of responders report that the greatest barrier is a lack of time/long waits at social service offices/long travel times to city offices. 40% of the programs report that stigma / pride and documentation problems are barriers to their guests participating in SNAP. Most programs are engaged in advocacy to end hunger More than 2/3 of EFPs report they are engaged in some form of public policy advocacy, including encouraging their guests to participate. However, the single biggest involvement is to support community fund drives for emergency food such as the annual CROP walk. Only about directly lobby / contact public officials. A significant number of programs provide food for targeted populations More than 40% of EFPs in the state provide at least some targeted assistance to groups with particular needs. The largest percentage (29%), reports catering towards infants, followed by the elderly and diabetics. Most Programs Now Offer their Clients some Choices in the Food they receive More than 3/5 of programs now provide clients with some choice in selecting the foods they receive.
ANALYSIS OF SURVEY RESULTS 1. How long has your program been in existence? Category 1 - 5 Years 6 - 10 Years 11 - 15 Years 16 - 20 Years 21 - 25 Years 25+ years TOTAL Number 44 51 79 100 83 197 554 Percent 8% 9% 14% 18% 15% 36%
Response: 36% reported 25+ years; 18% reported 16-20 years; 15% reported 21-25years; 14% reported 11-15 years; 9% reported 6-10years; and 8% reported 1-5 years. Comment: EFPs are no longer emergency focused but have become institutionalized. The majority of programs have been in existence for more than 20 years. The long length of operation of programs that were initially intended to be emergency focused contributes to the wear and tear on equipment and facilities. Many programs are being operated by the same volunteers who are now a lot older and need more assistance. A recent survey of EFP members of the NYC Food Bank found that 25% had closed their doors since the Great Recession began.
2. Do you run a Food Pantry, a Soup Kitchen, Both, or Other? Category Food Pantry Soup Kitchen Both a food pantry and a soup kitchen Other TOTAL Number 446 45 60 5 556 Percent 80% 8% 11% 1%
500 450 400 350 300 250 200 150 100 50 0 Food Pantry Soup Kitchen Both a food pantry and a soup kitchen Other Series1
Response: 80% of responders reported that they run a food pantry; 11% reported that they run both a soup kitchen and a food pantry; and 8% reported that they run a soup kitchen and 1% report another type of food program. 3. How many people did you serve in June 2011 and June 2012? Explanation: We picked a month rather than a year since programs had not finished the entire 2012 year. Response: Food pantries saw an 8% increase over previous years, compared to a 2% increased in soup kitchen use. Total number of people served by food Pantries for June 2012 was 524,231. This reflects an increase of 29,654 in comparison to June 2011. The total number of people served for soup kitchens for 2012 was 254,281 and for June 2011 was 249,531 an increase of 4750 persons. Comment: Increase in the number of people being fed often more accurately reflect the level of supplies than increased demand, since many programs say they do not have enough resources to feed everyone. In addition, a number of programs, especially soup kitchens have closed due to the inability to maintain services, raise food and funding, develop volunteers, etc. We only counted programs which reported service in both years. The NYC Coalition Against Hunger does an annual survey of EFPs in NYC. They report that "food pantries and soup kitchens faced a 5% spike in demand in 2012. This further added to surges in need in previous years: 12% in 2011, 7% in 2010, and 29% in 2009."
Food Pantries Soup Kitchens June 2011 June 2012 June 2011 June 2012 Total Fed 484,587 524,231 249,531 254,281 # Responses 489 484 102 104 Average 991 1,083 2,446 2,445 change 108% 102%
4. Do you view the promotion of Federal Nutrition Programs as part of your role? This was an open ended question. Response: 2/3 or approximately, 60% of food programs report that they view the promotion of Federal Nutrition as part of their role. 28% reported that they sometimes view it as their role. 13% reported that they did not view it as their role. Comment: This is a significant increase over time in the number of programs viewing helping their guests obtain food stamps and other federal nutrition benefits. This is partially a result of increased government funding for such activities by community based organizations. However, few EFPs received any funding for their own staff to assist in such efforts. Other studies show that half of EFP guests are not receiving SNAP at the time they receive food from the program. This reflects: delays in processing applications; a high rate of sanctioning; eligibility restrictions (e.g., limits on immigrants and undocumented workers); and the stigma / hassle associated in dealing with local welfare offices. Response Sometimes No Yes TOTAL Number Percent 144 68 306 518 28% 13% 59%
Sometimes No Yes
5. Do you help your clients obtain /access any of the following Programs? (Farmers Market, SNAP, School Meals, Senior Meals, Summer Meals, WIC or Nutrition Education) Response: Overall, the majority of food programs report that they assist clients to obtain or access programs by providing information/brochure/classes, conduct pre-screening, provide referrals or submit applications or assist in intervention/client advocacy. With regards to providing information/brochure/classes: 71% reported that they provide information on SNAP; 62% reported nutrition education; 56% reported Farmers market, and 56% reported WIC; 42% reported senior meals; 41% reported summer meals; 38% reported school meals. Comment: Like the previous question, this indicates increased involvement by EFPs in providing information re federal nutrition benefits. School meals and summer meals lag behind, even though more than a third of the guests being assisted are children. With regards to conducting pre-screening, the majority of responders report that they assist their clients with SNAP.
Farmers Market Provide information / Brochure / Classes Conduct prescreening Provide referrals or submit applications Intervention / Client Advocacy Total responses 270 21 69 40 482 Farmers Market Provide information / Brochure / Classes Conduct prescreening Provide referrals or submit applications Intervention / Client Advocacy 56% 4% 14% 8% SNAP 71% 17% 39% 20% School Meals 38% 2% 13% 5% Senior Meals 42% 3% 13% 8% Summer Meals 41% 2% 12% 5% WIC 56% 5% 22% 5% Nutrition Education 62% 4% 15% 9% SNAP 342 81 188 97 School Meals 183 8 64 23 Senior Meals 203 16 63 38 Summer Meals 200 8 60 25 WIC 272 22 108 47 Nutrition Education 301 17 70 44
7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0 100 200 300 400 Intervention / Client Advocacy Provide referrals or submit applications Conduct pre-screening Provide information / Brochure / Classes
6.. Has your food program adopted any nutrition standards? Response: Statewide a majority of food programs, 74 %, reported adopting nutrition standards,. Comment: The number of programs paying attention to nutrition quality has significantly increased over time. This is likely due both to advocacy and educational efforts among the EFP networks and the adoption of nutrition standard by government funding sources such as HPNAP. Food Programs follow various guidelines on nutrition standards, either informally, by virtue of the food selections that they choose when purchasing food from local Food Banks or formally, by adhering to the standards set out by their funders and other organizations such as their respective food banks, EFAP program, ADA Medical Nutrition Therapy, USDA, the Hunger Prevention and Nutrition Program (HPNAP), Federal guidelines on the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), Cornell Cooperative Extension, DFTA Nutrition and New York State Health Department. Many cook or serve low or no sodium canned foods, serve more chicken and fish and have reduced the use of red meat and pork, do not serve junk and snack food, serve more fresh fruit and vegetables to their clients and enquire about their clients dietary restrictions.
Response Yes No TOTAL Number Percent 379 74% 130 26% 509
7. Please rank on a scale of 1 - 5, the key barriers your customers/clients face in obtaining federal benefits? Responders were asked to select all categories that applied. Explanation: This information would be useful in helping to determine the barriers that the organizations and the State should focus on helping to eliminate. Response: Responders reported that the greatest barrier their clients face in obtaining federal benefits is “they think they are ineligible, even though they may not be”.
Second, a lack of time/long waits at social service offices/long travel times to city offices; Stigma and pride; lack of necessary documentation; city loses/mishandles paperwork; were cited as other key barriers. Comment: NYS in recent years have worked to increase participation in the SNAP program by viewing it as a work supplement. They now treat it more positively than cash assistance, which many local districts continue to divert eligible households away from. Despite the progress that has been made, more work is needed, particularly in educating the public about the income guidelines and in improving the process at local DSS / HRA offices. In NYC, HRA's own survey of food stamp applicants find that for people who have not received SNAP previously, the biggest barriers are lack of knowledge and belief that they are disqualified due to immigrant status. For those who have received before, the length and complexity of the application process was the biggest barrier. (HRA's survey of HRA's Research Notes, Volume 2, No. 1, 2011/2012) However, the survey results are limited since it was conducted at an HRA Medicaid office where people had already decided to apply for some benefits. 7. Please rank on a scale of 1 - 5, the key barriers your customers/clients face in obtaining federal benefits? Earn Too Much Immigration Fear status makes ineligible Think not eligible, though may be Lack of time / long wait at DSS / HRA 20% 24% 28% Stigma / Pride Lack HRA / DSS Doculoses mentation paper work 13% 28% 29% 8% 13% 23%
Greatest Partial One of Many Not A Barrier Unsure Total response
0% 20% 24%
16% 9% 18%
11% 24% 25%
21% 29% 27%
15% 25% 33%
8. What can Hunger Action Network of New York State (or other agencies) do to make it easier for you to provide assistance to your clients in obtaining federal nutrition benefits? Response: The majority of responders requested more information in the forms of leaflets /educational materials to provide for their clients. 50% of responders have requested local contacts at the relevant city/state/federal level. Approximately 40% requested that educational material be made easier to understand; others expressed a need for correspondence in various languages. Responders also cited training; and help provide more access to the Internet applications. Comment: More outreach is needed to smaller programs, especially those without staff and outside of urban areas. More government support is needed to put easy-to-read information into the hands of EFPs and their guests. Financial incentives to EFP to help cover their costs would likely be cost effective. Category Provide more leaflets / educational materials for your clients Make the educational materials easier to understand Provide literature in other languages Help provide local contacts at the relevant city/state/federal agencies Help provide more access to the Internet for applications Provide training to staff how the various nutrition programs operate Total Number 317 218 185 249 101 154 494 Percent 64% 44% 37% 50% 20% 31%
9. Which of the following statements best describes your agency's current level of food distribution? (do you distribute enough food to meet demand?) Response: More than a third of the programs respond that they do not have enough food to meet current demand. Comment: Based on Hunger Action Network's prior experience with EFPs, the number of programs unable to meet demand is understated. Pantries in particularly significantly limit the amount of food and frequency they will serve households (e.g., a bag of food for three days once a month) due to the lack of food they have access to. In addition, programs will further restrict the amount of food they distribute in order to try to get everyone at least something. Programs are often reluctant to admit they weren't able to help everyone that needs assistance, as it is discouraging to their volunteers and sponsors. Response Yes, we do distribute enough food to meet our current demand. (go to question 11) No, we do not distribute enough food to meet our current demand. (go to question 10) Unsure TOTAL Number Percent 318 202 24 544 58% 37% 4%
10. If you do not distribute enough food to meet your current demand, which of the following statements best describes your current situation? Explanation: This question is intended to investigate the reasons why food programs do not distribute enough food to meet their current demand. Responders had to select from two choices. a. If we had enough food available to meet our demand, we currently have enough capacity (storage space, refrigeration, staff and/or volunteers) to safely increase the amount of food we distribute.) b. Even if we had enough food available to meet demand, we do not have enough capacity to safely increase the amount of food we distribute. Response: 81 % responded that they have enough capacity to safely increase the amount of food they distribute.. Comment: Not having enough storage space was one of the many cited problems of the client choice system. Yet the vast majority of food programs reports that they have enough capacity to safely increase the amount of food they distribute. Response Yes, capacity No, capacity TOTAL Number Percent 190 81% 45 19% 235
11. How have your resources changed in the last year (July 2011 - June 2012)? Response: Two-thirds of food programs reported that their government and private funding has decreased over the last year, even as the number of people being served has increased. In addition, about 1/3 reported that both government and private funding has remained the same. Comment: As demand for emergency food has soared since the beginning of the Great Recession in 2007, government and private support has not only failed to keep up with the increased demand (as well as food
price inflation) but has actually declined. Federal funding for emergency food has had major cuts in recent years, including TEFAP. State and city funding has been relatively flat. The Emergency Food and Shelter Program (EFSP) which is administered through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was cut by 40% last year and has remained at the decreased level throughout the current funding cycle. The surplus commodity deliveries through TEFAP have declined approximately 70% nationwide over the past several years.
Greatly decreased Somewhat decreased About the same Somewhat increased Greatly increased Unsure / Don't know Total
Government food & money 166 185 97 58 8 0 514
32% 36% 19% 11% 2% 0%
Private food & money 127 165 114 79 14 0 499
25% 33% 23% 16% 3% 0%
Total food & Total money percentage 131 27% 189 39% 89 18% 66 14% 8 2% 0 0% 483
12. Were you forced to turn away people, reduce the amount of food distributed to each person, or limit your hours of operation because you lacked enough resources? Response: Almost 40% of the programs reported being unable to meet the demand for food. (see comment to question 9)
Response Yes No Unsure TOTAL
Percent 213 38% 307 55% 38 7% 558
13. In the following section, please indicate how the number of people served by your organization has changed over the last year. Response: More than 80% of the programs reported an increase in the number of clients in the last year. Half reported an increase in the number of working poor and senior. 75% an increase in children. Comment: The responses highlight the need for more job creation and higher wages.
Clients Greatly decreased Somewhat decreased About same Somewhat increased Greatly increased Total response 3% 5% 11% 37% 44% 548 Has Job 7% 13% 30% 37% 13% 421 Seniors 1% 4% 38% 38% 13% 518 Inadequate pay 2% 3% 19% 42% 34% 525 children 1% 5% 33% 41% 18% 485
14. How often do you or your staff spend personal money on your food program? Response: More than two-thirds of the programs report that they sometimes use their own money to run the programs (40% said sometime, 20% said often; 6% said always) Comment: This is further evidence of the need for increased funding for EFPs, including for operation supports funding. Response Never Rarely Sometimes Often Always Unsure /Don't know TOTAL Number 119 87 208 95 33 0 542 Percent 22% 16% 38% 18% 6% 0%
15. Which best describes your need for volunteers? Response: Half of the food programs that responded indicated that they don’t need any additional volunteers. About 20% stated that they need more volunteers for tasks such as serving meals or packing bags. About, 15% of responders reported needing more long-term skilled volunteers for accounting, fundraising, web design, legal assistance, etc.. 15% need both long-term skilled volunteers for such tasks as accounting, fundraising, web-design and legal assistance and help serving meals/packing bags. Comment: Many programs need help with volunteers. Programs often report that the challenge of keeping their doors open to hand out food, restrict their ability to provide additional assistance to their guests (food stamp advocacy) or to engage in public policy efforts addressing the long term problem of hunger. Programs could be more effective and diversify the services to their guests if they consolidated their programs with others in their community; the offsetting concern is that this would increase travel time and challenges for guests and leave certain neighborhoods underserved. The recent survey by the NYC Food Bank found that "the proportion of food pantries and soup kitchens without paid staff has increased. Approximately two-thirds of food pantries (68%) and soup kitchens (66%) reported that they had no paid full-time staff; even fewer had paid part-time staff. By contrast, in 2007, nearly half of food pantries (46%) and more than half of soup kitchens (51%) reported having at least one paid staff member." Category More volunteers SM/PB More skilled A/F/WD/LA Both SM/PB & A/F/WD/LA Don't need volunteers Total Number 114 73 79 258 524 22% 14% 15% 49%
16. If you did apply for HPNAP funding, what happened? Response: The vast majority of the programs received HPNAP Funding Comment: In hindsight, one limit of the survey was that it was mailed to a list of 2,500 EFPs provided by the Bureau of Nutrition of the Department of Health, which funds HPNAP. While other outreach efforts were undertaken to reach other EFPs, the survey responses largely excludes the estimated 500 EFPs outside of the HPNAP / Food Bank system. These tend to be smaller and new programs in more rural areas, as well as some faith-based ones who avoid government funding. Category Applied for food grant and received award Applied for food grant and received award, Applied for operations support grant and received award Applied for operations support grant and received award Applied for food grant and was rejected , Applied for operations support grant and was rejected Applied for operations support grant and was rejected Applied for food grant and was rejected , Applied for operations support grant and received award Total 17. How could the HPNAP Program better meet your needs? Explanation: Respondents were given an opportunity to provide comments. Response: An overwhelming 89% of responders reported that their needs could be better met through the acquisition of more funding from the HPNAP Program, this is reflective of the large percentage of Number Percent 322 65% 160 9 1 0 2 494 32% 2% 0% 0% 0%
respondents that cited that all sources of funding, government food and money, private food and money and total food and money have both somewhat decreased or partly decreased in the past fiscal year. 40% of the respondents cited the need for increased funding for operations support and for increased flexibility in how the money could be spent. Capital equipment; clearer/easier application process; and transportation were all cited by less than 20% of the responders. Comment: Prior advocacy by Hunger Action Network resulted in changes to the HPNAP program to allow increased funding for capital equipment, transportation and operating support. Unless EFPs are part of the larger social service agency (e.g., CAP agency, Catholic Charities) they often lack staff. This restricts their ability to offer other services that could reduce the long term need for such programs.
CATEGORY More funding More flexibility in how to spend money Transportation Capital Equipment Clearer/Easier process Increasing HPNAP Operations support funding Other TOTAL
NUMBER PERCENT 444 89% 192 39% 36 7% 80 16% 68 14% 200 498 40%
18. Which best describes the type/s of technical assistance your program would like to receive? Response: The largest area for help is fundraising, cited by 51% (reflective of the need for more resources by programs). 42% reported nutrition education, whilst 33% reported client benefits advocacy. Approximately, 20% cited volunteer recruitment. This is reflective of some open-ended responses citing the need for younger volunteers with “strong backs”. It might be concluded that there is a strong relationship between the number of years programs have been in existence, over 25 years and 16-20 years and the ages of some volunteers. A lower %age of respondents cited the need for technical assistance in the areas of inventory control; record keeping; and organizational development. Category Fundraising Nutrition Education Inventory Control Organizational development Record keeping Volunteer recruitment Client Benefits Advocacy Other TOTAL Number Percent 74 51% 60 42% 19 13% 14 10% 17 12% 27 19% 47 33% 144
19. Is there a need for increased coordination among the various emergency food programs in your community? Explanation: Firstly, this question seeks to identify whether there is a need for increased coordination among various emergency food programs and secondly, it investigates whether coordination among agencies already exist. The question also gave the respondent the opportunity to provide comments. Response: Half of the programs reported a need for more coordination. Comments: In some counties coordination among food programs already occurs whilst in others it is nonexistent. In a handful of counties there are established Hunger Coalitions that meet regularly. Counties cited include those in the Capital District, Rockland, Orange, Westchester, Steuben, Oneida, Tompkins, Schenectady, and Staten Island. Some networking takes places at the Food Bank meetings for programs. Coordination does occur if an agency (e.g., Catholic Charities) runs a number of pantries in the same county. Some programs do coordinate when EFPs run out of food. Programs cited a need for more info about the hours and service areas of other EFPS. The meetings provide a forum for sharing successes and working on common problems. One program said the need is partially being met by the Food Bank for New York City’s Tiered Engagement Network (TEN) Program. Responses Yes No TOTAL Number Percent 239 48% 259 52% 498
20. What are the major problems jeopardizing the operation of your emergency food program? Explanation: This information would be useful in determining in what areas food pantries, soup kitchen and other organizations require technical assistance from their funders, and what corrective measures can be undertaken and put into place. Response: 70% of the responders reported that a lack of funding was the greatest problem jeopardizing the operation of their emergency food program. This is reflective of the total amount of responders who reported a decrease in all sources of food and money. Other major problems cited were inadequate storage space; do not know when and where to obtain funding; lack of staffing; inability to access food grants; volunteer recruitment. A very low percentage of respondents attributed a lack of computer training, increase in clients and safety issues as being major problems that would jeopardize their operation.
Category Lack of funding Lack of food resources Inadequate storage space Increase in clients Lack of staffing Transportation Safety issues Problems placing food orders Lack of computer training Inability to access food grants Volunteer recruitment Do not know when and where to obtain funding Other
Number Percent 325 70% 220 47% 97 21% 10 2% 76 16% 51 11% 12 3% 56 12% 24 5% 76 16% 76 16% 84 465 18%
Do not know when and where to obtain funding Volunteer recruitment Inability to access food grants Lack of computer training Problems placing food orders Safety issues Transportation Lack of staffing Increase in clients Inadequate storage space Lack of food resources Lack of funding 0 50 100 150 200 250 300 350 Series1
21. Do you require more information about the various sources of government and food bank funding and resources available to you? If yes, check boxes that you would like more information about. Response: Overall, 2/3 of the responders indicated a need for more information about the various sources of government, and food bank funding and resources. The greatest percentage request more information from Hunger Action Network of New York State. The next, greatest request is for information is from EFPs. This is reflective of the request for a current list of operating EFP’s, with date and times of program operation as indicated by respondents’ open-ended comments. A smaller percentage requests information from foundations, their respective Food Banks and, United Way. A low, 1% of responders reported that they were unsure if they required any information.
Response Yes No Unsure TOTAL
Number 375 179 6 560
Percent 67% 32% 1%
Food Bank 126 34%
Other EFPs 139 37%
Found Elected ations officials 133 94 35% 25%
United Way 108 29%
Hunger Action Network of New York State 214 57%
Comment: As noted above, one limit of the survey is that the respondents almost all were receiving HPNAP funding. Thus the estimated 500 programs not receiving such funding might have responded quite differently. 22. Do you participate in public policy advocacy/actions on behalf of low-income people? Explanation: This question seeks to determine the program’s level of participation in public policy advocacy/action on behalf of low-income people. This information can be useful in determining the areas that funders and organizations should focus on when providing information to the food programs. Response: Overall, 2/3 of food programs reported that their level of participation in public policy/action on behalf of low-income people involves the distribution of flyers and participation in hunger crop walk. Half participate in coalition development. 36% engage in letter writing campaigns/petitions. Approximately 30% invite legislators to their program; visit elected officials; and phone-in to elected officials. Comment: The responses indicate a strong interest among EFPs in engaging in public advocacy. More outreach is needed by groups such Hunger Action Network to help this occur. There is a need for easierto-participate campaigns / materials as well as more training and capacity building among EFPs in advocacy.
23. Do you encourage your guests to participate in public policy advocacy/actions on behalf of lowincome people? Explanation: This question investigates as to whether food programs encourage their guest to participate in public advocacy/ actions on behalf of low-income people. Response: Nearly 70% of the EFPs at least occasionally encourage their guests to engage in advocacy efforts. Response Always Most of the time Sometimes Never TOTAL Number Percent 107 19% 58 10% 216 39% 179 32% 560
24. How can Hunger Action Network of New York State make it easier for you to get involved in public policy advocacy/ actions? Explanation: This question seeks to determine in what ways Hunger Action Network of New York State can assist food programs in participating in public policy advocacy/actions. Currently, there is a strong interest in policy advocacy among food programs. Response: Responders report that boosting their food programs’ involvement in public policy advocacy can be achieved by means of communication, education and outreach, technical support and the provision of materials. Via the various forms of mass communication information can be provided to food programs who in turn will present it to their clients and members of their faith based community to educate and notify them about upcoming policy changes or actions that will affect them. A flow of information can be provided, i.e. email, information blasts, form letters and flyers so food pantries can be provided with a contact list to enable them to know who to contact and what to advocate for. Also, requests are made for Hunger Action Network of New York State to hold meetings at various times and in close proximity to
food programs. In addition, form letters should be provided to programs to enable them to provide community literacy programs and job training sessions to their clients. Public Advocacy / Action Coalition Development Invite legislators to program Phone-ins to elected officials Letter writing campaigns/petitions Visited elected officials Other (Distribute flyers, hunger crop walk) Yes No Total Yes% 228 228 456 50% 126 288 414 30% 100 296 396 25% 164 296 460 36% 106 286 392 27% 275 176 451 61%
25. What do you feel are the most important issues affecting low-income New Yorkers? Explanation: The information would be useful in helping to determine the most important issues affecting low-income New Yorkers so that the focus would be on helping to eliminate them. Response: The lack of jobs/employment was cited as the most important issue affecting low-income New Yorkers. The second biggest issues are affordable housing and low wages. Other important issues that affect low-income New Yorkers are health care; education and training; childcare; transportation; food stamp issues; welfare; disabilities; and welfare program issues. Comment: Job creation targeted at low-income New Yorkers is the key policy need in dealing with hunger. There is a strong need however to increase the wages of the job provided, starting with an increase in the minimum wage. Most of the EFPs in NYS started as a response to the hunger crisis created by the 1981 federal budget cuts. The biggest problem was the slashing in funding for public housing programs. Those cuts have never been restored. Many government programs are based on the theory that a household should spend around a third of their income on housing costs. Many low-income families are forced to spend 50% or more on housing, leading to hunger. Category Affordable Housing Education and Training Racism Child Care Low Wages Health Care Job/Employment Welfare Program Issues Disabilities Transportation Food Stamp Program Issues Total Number 436 326 105 313 436 332 472 192 198 273 237 536 Percent 81% 61% 20% 58% 81% 62% 88% 36% 37% 51% 44%
26. Does your food program cater to, or offer special food / packages to, targeted groups? Explanation: This question seek to determine whether food programs provide any special food to clients who are a part of targeted groups such as infants, elderly, diabetics, hypertension, pregnant women or individuals who have HIV/AIDS. Response: More than 40% of EFPs in the state provide at least some targeted assistance to groups with particular needs. The largest percentage, 29%, cater towards infants, followed by the elderly and Diabetics. Catering for clients of hypertension was cited by 16% of the responders, followed by pregnant women 10%. A low percentage reported catering for HIV/AIDS patients. Comment: Government funding and food purchases should better reflect the diverse populations that many EFPs are seeking to assist. Category Infants Elderly Diabetics Hypertension Pregnant women HIV/AIDS TOTAL YES PERCENT 164 29% 144 26% 145 26% 90 16% 56 10% 37 7% 240 43%
27. Kindly select the service you offer to clients at your Food Program? (client choice (supermarket, table walk-through, window or inventory list) or packing bags. Explanation: This question seeks to ascertain the number of food pantries who employ the system of packing bags or client choice system. Response: More than 3/4 of the programs now provide clients with some choice in selecting the foods they receive. However, a number of programs report some challenges in doing so. Comment: The first client choice program was offered by West Side Campaign Against Hunger 19 years ago. It has increasingly become a standard with the EFP movement in NYS, a major development. This has also been assisted by support by HPNAP which has provided funding for capital equipment to help implement a client choice programs. However, it is likely that the response rate is overstated. This may reflect that stronger more developed programs are the ones likely to offer client choice and they are the ones that were more likely to respond. Programs also offer a range of "client choice", some of which may ask EFP guests about their preferences but don't offer a formal client choice programs.
Responses Client Choice (Supermarket, Table, Walk-Through, etc List) Packaging bags Both Client Choice and Packing Bags Does not Apply TOTAL
Yes 344 46 56 114 560
Percent 61% 8% 10% 20%
28. If you selected Client Choice, what are some of the benefits or problems you have encountered while employing this system? Do you see client choice as being the new wave of the future? This was an open ended question. Comments: Many programs have chosen the client choice approach to respect the dignity of their guests and to reduce food waste by allowing individuals to select what they want. Client choice also better responds to individuals' dietary needs, preferences and culture. Some problems are that those who "shop first" may get preference in what they are able to obtain, as the most "attractive" food options are selected first. There is the need to combine nutrition education with the programs. Overall, food programs view client choice as being the new wave of the future one that many food programs will continue to employ or come on board with. Response: Food Programs report that a main benefit it that it provides the client with dignity and produces a happier, more satisfied client. It assists the program in that they are able to “stream-line” what they shop for because they receive a more accurate picture on the foods that are desired. It affords program staff more personal contact with clients that assist in relationship building which enables staff to enquire about the client’s overall needs and cater to them. Many food programs cited many problems such as more time for client choice is required than have the program packing bags. There is a lack of space to adequately execute the system, and more volunteers are required to monitor and train clients. It can be a challenge to provide appropriate selections that meet nutrition guidelines due to changing inventory lists. Adequate funding is required to replenish pantry shelves, since clients prefer convenience foods and generic brands whilst unfamiliar foods are left on the shelf. There are issues of safety because fights can take place when clients do not receive what they want or when management tries to enforce rules.
29. What percentage of your clients is?
CHILDREN 33.6% 10.3% 24.5% 30.7% ADULTS 53.2% 69.7% 153.4% 65.1% SENIORS 17.0% 26.0% 37.9% 20.1% EMPLOYED 34.4% 21.4% 26.9% 32.7% UNEMPLOYED 58.7% 68.2% 62.4% 59.8%
Food pantry Soup kitchen pantry and kitchen Total
Response: A third of the guests are children, with a higher percentage at food pantries. About 20% are seniors, with a higher number at soup kitchens. About a third is the working poor. Comments: The percentage of children being fed by EFPs has declined over time. Data from a 1988 survey by NYSDOH found that half of the guests of food pantries in upstate NY were children; about 1/3 in NYC. The survey unfortunately failed to provide a definition of adults. Some programs include seniors as adults, others separate them. 30. Does your organization have a formal registration process for new clients to your Food Program? Response: Approximately, 80% of responders reported having a formal registration process for new clients at their emergency food programs. Comment. Over 85% of food pantries have a registration system. Response Number Percent Yes 440 79% No 120 21% TOTAL 560
31. Do you ask new clients to provide the following information? Response: The majority of food programs reports that as a part of their formal registration process they ask new clients to provide a current address, phone number, e-mail address and to verify their family size.
Social Security Address, phone, email employment status Verify Family Size Income Level Total responses
Yes 59 441 229 415 231 480
% 12% 92% 48% 86% 48%
32. What are some of the main reasons clients give for obtaining emergency food? Explanation: Respondents could cite as many reasons clients give. Response: Almost all of the respondents (90%) reported moved, re-establishing eligibility, as among as a major reason why clients use their program. The second most commonly cited reason was no income, followed by Public Assistance/Food Stamps ran out. Other major reasons cited were: waiting for unemployment benefits; income was used to pay utilities; income was used to pay rent; unemployment benefits ended; and personal emergency; laid off or lost their job; benefits lost or stolen; the lowest percentage cited; case closed by DSS. A low 25% of responders reported benefits not received this month as a main reason clients give for obtaining emergency food. Comment: The responses reflect a mixture of emergency needs (recently moved, personal emergency, case closed by DSS) and long term needs (PA / food stamps ran out, paying rent) There is a need to raise PA and food stamp benefits so that they feed the family for the entire month. When Hunger Action Network first surveyed EFPs in 1985 about their needs, many responded that they needed to get DSS / HRA to provide food assistance (expedited food stamps) in a timely manner to individuals who contacted them in emergency situations. Most program report that they are still feeding
many individuals who are waiting for applications for various government benefits, including unemployment, to be process. A 1988 study of 1900 families with children who came to human service agencies in NYC with food emergencies found that almost half cited an administrative public assistance case closing as the reason. (Anna Lou Dehavenon, Tyranny of Indifference). A 1988 survey of EFPs by NYSDOH found that problems with public assistance were the single largest reason for using EFPs. (1988 Census of Emergency Food Relief in NYS, Table 9)
Category Public Assistance/food Stamps ran out No Income Income used to pay rent Income used to pay utilities Unemployment Benefits ended Waiting for unemployment benefits Personal Emergency Disabled Case closed by DSS Benefits not received this month benefits lost or stolen Moved, re-establishing eligibility Laid off or lost job DSS application pending Other Total
Number 428 447 331 344 327 364 328 189 228 130 249 462 270 214
Percent 81% 85% 63% 65% 62% 69% 62% 36% 43% 25% 47% 88% 51% 41%
33. How many of your guests receive these forms of income?
Category 0 -10 11 to 25 26-50 51-75 76-100 Total Food Stamps # 25 44 84 107 107 367 Fulltime work 148 62 60 15 3 288 Unemployment 107 107 67 31 16 328
% 7% 12% 23% 29% 29%
WIC 143 89 56 17 9 314
% 39% 28% 15% 5% 2%
Disability 88 110 77 46 11 332
% 27% 32% 23% 14% 3%
% 51% 22% 21% 5% 1%
TANF 69 36 25 16 6 152
% 45% 24% 16% 11% 4%
% 33% 33% 20% 9% 5%
Category 0 - 10 11 - 25 26 - 50 51 - 75 76 - 100 Total
Social Security 81 106 95 49 12 343
% 24% 31% 28% 14% 3%
Pensi on 147 72 39 8 4 270
% 54% 27% 14% 3% 1%
Home Relief 91 24 21 13 3 152
% 60% 16% 14% 9% 2%
SSI 72 92 85 49 20 318
% 23% 29% 27% 15% 6%
PT Jobs 75 106 75 27 10 293
% 26% 36% 26% 9% 3%
Child Support 126 68 39 6 0 239
% 53% 28% 16% 3% 0
Explanation: The question was designed to get a sense of the forms of income that individuals receive, though most programs do not maintain detailed statistics. So rather than asking for a fixed percentage, we asked for a range. Unfortunately, this made it much more difficult to create averages. Responses: Food stamps are the single most common form of income. Comment: The 2010 hunger survey by Feeding America provides demographics nationally on EFP guests, including income sources. (http://feedingamerica.issuelab.org/resource/hunger_in_america_2010_national_report) 26.4% of all adults in EFP households were employed; 36% of EFP households had a least one person working. Of all adults, 12.8% had full time employment and 13.6% had part time employment. 9.6% of households had income from disability or workers comp; 3.5% from public assistance (TANF); 2.0% had income from general assistance (Home Relief / Safety net); 21.4% had income from social security; 2.4% from pension; and, 1.2% had child support. 41.0% of EFP clients nationwide are currently receiving food stamp benefits, though 71.5% had at some point applied for benefits. 22% had applied for benefits in the last year but were not receiving them. On average, households reported the food stamps last 2.7 weeks out of the month. Among EFP households with a child under the age of 3, 54.1% participated in WIC. Among EFP households with a child under the age of 18, 61.9% participated in school lunch; 53.6% in school breakfast; 8.3% in after school snack programs; and 13.9% in summer meals.
34. What is your preferred form of communication from Hunger Action Network of New York State? Responders could check as many that apply. Response: Approximately, 60% of the responders preferred to receive communication from Hunger Action Network of New York State by newsletter and email. Hand copy mail was the next preferred form of communication followed by phone; Trainings. Regional conferences; and fax were less the least preferred form of communication. Category Email Phone Regional conferences Trainings Newsletter Fax Hand copy/Mail All of the Above Total Number 248 106 59 79 251 50 232 58 429 Percent 58% 25% 14% 18% 59% 12% 54% 14%
35. About how much is your emergency food program's overall budget? Explanation: This question enquires about the emergency food program’s overall budget. Response: The total budget for the 408 Food programs that responded is $14,192,094.22. The average budget is $34,785. Total budget Responses Average 14192094.22 408 34785
Q36. Do you receive food from a food bank, EFAP, Food Recovery Program, HPNAP, EFSP United Way (select all that apply)? Explanation: This question seeks to determine where most food programs get their food. Respondents could cite as many sources they receive food from. Response: Almost 90% of responders reported receiving from their respective food bank and the HPNAP Program. Less than 25% reported their source of food being the EFAP Program and EFSP United Way. A low 14% indicated that their source of food is through a food recovery program. Comment: The survey results generally excluded EFPs outside of the food bank / HPNAP system. Food Source Food Bank EFAP Food Recovery Program HPNAP EFSP/United Way Total Number 479 128 78 475 124 542 Percent 88% 24% 14% 88% 23%
Glossary of Terms FOOD PANTRY Food Pantries distribute non-prepared food items such as canned and fresh vegetables, fruit, and meats to low-income individuals. Most pantries restrict how often a household can receive assistance. One standard is that a household may get enough food once a month to provide meals for three days. KITCHEN (SOUP KITCHEN, COMMUNITY DINING ROOM) A charitable program whose primary purpose is to provide prepared meals, served in the kitchen, to clients in need. Generally provides a meal to anyone who shows up. FOOD BANK Warehouse operations that solicits, receives, and, distributes government funded and donated food and grocery products to emergency food programs and other charitable human-service agencies, which then provide the products directly to clients. HPNAP The Hunger Prevention Network Assistance Program HPNAP provides state funding for emergency food. $29 million was provided last year. Most of the funds are given to the Food Banks and to United Way in NYC to provide nutritional food to EFPs. Funds are almost made available in direct contracts for special projects, which include many of the larger EFPs. Some HPNAP funds are used for operating costs and capital equipments as well as fruit and vegetables. EFAP Emergency Food and Assistance Program provides funding to more than 500 soup kitchens and food pantries citywide. $8 million is for food. EFAP staff coordinate the distribution of non-perishable food commodities to the members as well as monitor the emergency feeding program members to ensure adherence to EFAP and agency guidelines. TEFAP The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) is a federal program which purchases commodity food for distribution to low-income Americans through the food bank network. The amount received by each State depends on its low-income and unemployed population. State agencies work out details of administration and distribution. EFSP The Emergency Food and Shelter Program is a national program run by FEMA which allocates funds for the provision of food and shelter. The program is administered on a county basis, normally by Untied Way. SNAP The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. More commonly known as Food Stamps. An entitlement program with income and resource tests.
CSFP The Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) provides food to supplement the diets of low income pregnant and breastfeeding women, other new mothers up to one year postpartum, infants, children up to age six, and the elderly. FOOD INSECURITY USDA’s measure of lack of access, at times, to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members; limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate foods. NON-EMERGENCY FOOD ASSISTANCE Charitable feeding programs that have a primary purpose other than emergency food distribution, but also distribute food. Non-emergency food programs include afterschool meals to low-income children, senior congregate meal programs, child day care programs, Kids Café and BackPack programs. SHELTER (EMERGENCY SHELTER, HOMELESS SHELTER) A charitable program with a primary purpose to provide shelter or housing on a short-term or temporary basis to clients and typically serves one or more meals a day. WIC - Women, Infants and Children The federal WIC program provides nutrition-based food vouchers to low-income pregnant and nursing women and children 5 or younger. Overview of HPNAP Inititiaves Increasing Availability of Healthy Foods o HPNAP reimbursable meals are required to meet minimum nutrition standards, consisting of at least three servings from five food groups; one of the three servings must be either a fruit or vegetable. o Since 2005, HPNAP has required contractors to spend a specific amount of food dollars to make fresh produce and low-fat fluid milk to program recipients. Currently, HPNAP contractors must spend at least 10% of their food budget on the purchase of fresh Produce and at least 2% on the purchase of low-fat fluid milk. o In FY2009-2010, HPNAP is implementing new policies to ensure the availability of whole grain cereals and locally grown produce to the emergency food network. . o Two HPNAP Special Projects focus on increasing the access of fresh, locally grown produce in food pantries, soup kitchens and low-income neighborhoods. The Local Produce Link project allows United Way of NYC-HPNAP to purchase produce directly from the farmer at a negotiated price. The Capital District Community Gardens contracts with HPNAP to implement the Taste and Take Program, through their Veggie Mobile. .
o Food Recovery/Gleaning – HPNAP contracts with seven agencies to recover or glean food from farmers, restaurants, grocery stores, and other organizations.
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