ONEIDA, New York. Governor Kathy Hochul recently announced that New York State received a $2.7 million Reach and Resiliency grant from the USDA.

This money will help expand the coverage of the Emergency Food Assistance Program to remote, rural, tribal, and low-income areas that are currently underserved by the program.

“We have a moral obligation to break down the logistical and stigmatic barriers that block access to nutritious, culturally significant food for those who need it most,” Hochul said.

The grant is part of the USDA’s “Rebuild Better” initiative to support and expand the national food network so food banks and local organizations can serve their communities reliably. The $234 million in federal funding continues the government’s efforts to help recipients of the WIC and Supplement Nutrition Assistance Program.

The money will be used to provide the maximum allowance for every family size. The distribution includes $171,697 at the Food Bank of Central New York in Syracuse.

The Department of Labor said on June 10 that grocery store prices rose 11.9% in May compared to May 2021, while restaurants and other food service outlets rose 7.4%, the biggest increase in four decades. .

Nearly 2.2 million New Yorkers, or 11.1 percent, are food insecure. Nearly 1.1 million New Yorkers, or 12.9 percent, are food insecure.

According to the New York State Action Association, the poverty rate in Madison County is 11.9%. Nationally, USDA data from May 2021 showed that 17 percent of Americans, more than 50 million people, struggle to buy groceries.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, SNAP benefits have grown from about $8 million annually to nearly $20 million currently for Madison County.

“This additional benefit, which gives each SNAP recipient the maximum amount for their family size, has been in place since the beginning of the pandemic to account for children at home and parents working at home,” said Madison County Department of Human Services Commissioner Michael. Fitzgerald said.

In February 2020, SNAP benefits issued in Madison County totaled $668,710 for approximately 6,000 families, or an average of about $110 per family.

By January 2021, this monthly allowance was $1,329,324 for approximately 6,100 families, or an average of $220 per family. And by April 2022, SNAP benefits issued this month increased to $1,710,922. The payments were for approximately 6,600 families, or an average of almost $260 per family.

“We serve an additional 600 families every month. We believe these added benefits keep families healthy and provide children with nutritious food while helping local grocery stores despite rising food prices,” said Fitzgerald.

Households receiving SNAP are expected to spend about 30 percent of their own resources on food, so the benefit is calculated by multiplying a household’s net monthly income by 0.3. The result is subtracted from the maximum monthly allowance for your household size. For example, a family of four is eligible for an $835 benefit.

Eligibility for SNAP includes work requirements. Candidates must register for work, refrain from voluntary termination of employment or reduction of working hours, accept work if offered, and participate in employment and training programs if assigned.

Able-bodied adults without dependents must work or participate in a work program for at least 20 hours per week in order to receive SNAP benefits for more than 3 months within a 36-month period.

Failure to comply may result in disqualification from the program.

These requirements may not apply to children, the elderly, pregnant women, and people with a physical or mental illness.

Information about SNAP and WIC and applications are available from local DSS offices. The Madison County SNAP office is located at N. Court Street, Office One, Wampsville. Call 315-366-2211.

In Oneida County, DSS offices are located at 300 West Dominick St. in Rome, call 315-356-6506 and 800 Park Avenue in Utica; 315-798-5502.

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