FALCONER — Senator Kirsten Gillibrand says as many as 20 percent of all families don’t have enough money to properly feed their children.
Gillibrand shared her concerns about feeding hungry children during Friday’s visit to the FeedMore WNY Distribution Center on the Falconer-Frewsburg Road.
“One in five parents don’t have enough food to feed their children, including 1 million parents in Western New York,” Gillibrand said.
“There’s no question that families here and in New York are struggling,” she said. “Millions of families are unable to put food on the table.”
To face the problem, Gillibrand said the next benefit package, currently being negotiated, must include expanded SNAP and Pandemic EBT benefits. She said her Inuring Nutrition for American Students Act provides expanded snap benefits.
Time, she said is of the essence.
“This is not an issue that can wait. You can’t provide meals to kids retroactively,” Gillibrand said.
According to a FeedMore WNY spokeswoman, the agency has distributed more than 6.6 million pounds of food since March, a 54 percent increase from last year. The delivery includes 51,000 bags of food to feed children and is a 13 percent increase in children served.
Because of the impact of COVID-19 and school shutdowns, many children who rely on free or reduced school lunches could be missing meals.
“More than half of K through 12 students receive free or reduced price lunches,” Gillibrand said. “For many, it’s the most substantial meal they get that day.”
Gillibrand said she is hopeful the Senate can vote on a new relief package next week.