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GOVERNOR CUOMO LAUNCHES "HELP YOUR NEIGHBOR" INITIATIVE TO URGE BUSINESSES AND NEW YORKERS TO GIVE TO FOOD BANKS

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has launched "Help Your Neighbor," a statewide initiative to urge businesses and New Yorkers to give directly to regional food banks this holiday season. The Governor also announced $1 million in grants will be given to eight food banks across the state and an additional $620,000 in grants for emergency food relief organizations in communities hit hard by the recent flooding and storms.

Regional food banks are the primary source of food for those in need, as they stock networks of food pantries and soup kitchens. As a result of the recent storms and flooding as well as the difficult economic times, food banks have struggled to provide enough food for those seeking assistance. The "Help Your Neighbor" initiative urges all businesses and New Yorkers to give what they can to help make sure those in need do not go hungry during the holiday season.

"In these tough economic times, New York food banks are struggling to fill their shelves and meet the high demand," Governor Cuomo said. "The 'Help Your Neighbor' initiative will help ensure soup kitchens and food pantries across the state have the resources they need to feed all those who seek assistance this holiday season. New Yorkers have always been the first to give and the initiative will tap into this spirit of generosity to make sure those in need can put food on the table."

The "Help Your Neighbor" initiative encourages New Yorkers and businesses to donate resources to help restock and fill the shelves of food banks across New York State. Food banks are a critical provider to the soup kitchens and food pantries that many New Yorkers rely on, particularly during difficult economic times. As a result of the flooding and tough weather of the past year, affected New York farms have struggled to provide the generous donations they usually give to food banks. Additionally, some donors have scaled back their giving due to tough economic conditions.

"Help Your Neighbor" is a part of Governor Cuomo's "NYGives" campaign, a statewide effort to encourage charitable giving and generosity throughout the holiday season. "NYGives" connects businesses, not-for-profit organizations, and those seeking to give with organizations that directly serve New Yorkers most in need. The campaign will continue through the end of 2011.

In recognition of the heightened demand on hunger prevention programs throughout the State, the Governor has authorized an additional $1 million in funding for regional food banks. This increased funding will be allocated to eight regional food banks across New York State, that distribute food through 5,000 food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, and other emergency programs to feed nearly 3 million people during 2011. The money is being directed by the state for this purpose from a federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Contingency Fund grant award received by New York in October.

The additional food bank funds will be allocated as follows:

In areas hit hard by the past storms and flooding, the Governor has directed $620,000 to emergency food relief organizations to ensure New Yorkers in these communities are able to put food on the table. The money is from the General Fund Local Assistance appropriation for the Hunger Prevention and Nutrition Assistance Program in the 2011-12 Budget.

The funds will be divided as follows:

New Yorkers looking to donate or volunteer should visit the following website to locate a local food bank.(External Link)