DUNKIRK, NY (WNY News Now) – New York Senator George Borello took to the streets of Dunkirk last week to advocate for a New York food program, with hopes of restoring funding.
Joined by other political figures, the Senator spoke out in hopes of saving Nourish NY, and subsequently the families it is impacting.
“So I’m here today to really call on the Governor and the Department of Health to fix this,“ explained Senator Borello. “To release the funds that have already been applied for and allocated, this is a $50 million dollar program folks, in the scheme of a $230 billion dollar state budget, what is $50 million dollars. It is one quarter of one percent of the budget of New York State, yet it has helped thousands of farmers across New York State feed people. It has helped the food banks like the one behind me feed people. It has helped people in need, people that are on the edge that just want to put food in their bellies and the bellies of their children. It has helped thousands upon thousands upon thousands of people. And this program has been log jammed because of the Department of Health bureaucracy.”
The program is currently facing a funding problem, in what the senator is calling a bureaucratic mismanagement.
“After this change in qualifications that cost around a half a million dollars to Rural Ministries and really sent them into a panic unfortunately,” stated Senator Borello. “On top of that, the department of health decided to combine the Nourish NY program, which is a state program with a federal program. Programs that have two different missions and serve two different constituents, yet the Department of Health saw fit to push them together, and when doing that, they actually created an administrative nightmare.”
For those at Chautauqua Rural Ministry, the only food bank in northern Chautauqua County, seeing the cuts of funding that they receive is impacting those they serve.
“I don’t think this should be a political situation,“ explained the Ministy’s Board President Allan Steinberg. “We’re all a family, we’re all together on this, we can be together to feed people, take care of people. We do a lot more than just feeding people here, so lets make this work instead of a political thing.”
The Senator’s goal is to be heard by NY Governor Kathy Hochul to help save the dying food program.