City Budget Investments Must Support Anti-Hunger Programs for Families in FY25

Testimony & Public Comments

May 29, 2024

On Wednesday, May 29, Policy and Advocacy Associate Jenny Veloz submitted testimony to the New York City Council Oversight Hearing on Food Insecurity. On behalf of CCC, the testimony calls out the high rate of food insecurity among children in NYC and offers investment solutions to address this issue through programs and services than can and should be funded in the city budget for FY2025.

Read the testimony below.


Testimony of Jenny Veloz, Policy and Advocacy Associate

Citizens’ Committee for Children of New York
Submitted to the New York City Council Oversight Hearing on Food Insecurity in New York City
May 29th, 2024

Since 1944, Citizens’ Committee for Children of New York has served as an independent, multi-issue child advocacy organization. CCC does not accept or receive public resources, provide direct services, or represent a sector or workforce; our priority is improving outcomes for children and families through research and advocacy. We document the facts, engage and mobilize New Yorkers, and advocate for solutions to ensure that every New York child is healthy, housed, educated, and safe.

We would like to thank Chair Ayala and all the members of the Committee on General Welfare for holding today’s oversight hearing on food insecurity. To ensure New York City continues its recovery from the pandemic, we must make strong and robust investments in food and nutrition supports for all families in the city.

New York leaders must address the widespread hunger crisis that was exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Investments in many federal hunger prevention programs have lapsed, leaving children and families struggling to afford healthy meals and groceries. According to the State Comptroller’s May 2024 report on food insecurity, from 2020-2022, 11.3% households in New York State experienced food insecurity, an increase from 10.3% during the period of 2019-2021. This same report also highlights that households with children continue to experience the highest rates of food insufficiency when compared to households without children. In 2022, 16 percent of households with children experienced food insufficiency. Although that number decreased to 15.1% in 2023, it was still higher than the 10% of households without children.1

In New York City, there has been a 60% increase in food pantry visits since before the pandemic.2 Children continue to be the most impacted by food insecurity, with 1 in 4 children being unaware of where their next meal will come from.3 Anti-hunger programs, like Community Food Connections, are a vital resource for families needing extra help in accessing healthy food options. Food insecure families rely on food pantries and kitchens when they are unable to afford groceries. Investing in food services operated by the Department of Education’s Office of Food and Nutrition Services (OFNS), allows children to have healthier breakfast and lunch options in school so that they can better focus and thrive academically.

It is imperative that New York City continue to fund and invest in programs that are vital to the health and well-being of families and children. These food initiatives play a crucial role in ensuring families have the food and nutrition supports needed to thrive. Therefore we recommend the following investments in the CFY25 Budget to help fight food insecurity:

  • Increase funding for Community Food Connection program to $60 million and baseline that funding. This funding will accommodate the increased costs of adding fresh food into the program.
  • Maintain $10 million for the NYCBenefits program to maintain all 36 contractors for the program, protect benefits enrollment and frontline positions, increase wages, and enhance internal systems.

For many families, schools are one of the primary places where children receive consistent meals and can be educated on healthy meals and nutrition. As such, we support the following school food initiatives:

  • Invest an additional $150 million in capital funding to continue redesigning the remaining middle and high school Nearly half of middle and high school cafeterias have been completed or are funded. This modernization of middle and high school cafeterias shapes students’ experience with school meals and increases lunch participation.
  • Restore $60 million to DOE’s Office of Food and Nutrition Although much of this funding has been restored, healthy school meals will continue to be in jeopardy unless full funding to support school meals operations across the five boroughs is included.

We also recognize the importance of federal emergency food assistance programs like SNAP and call on New York City to ensure that HRA has the funding to engage community-based organizations in benefits outreach and streamline benefits applications. Community-based organizations are important sources of information for anyone applying for benefits, such as SNAP and WIC. And with demand for SNAP increasing, benefits outreach continues to be an important resource to alleviate food insecurity.

Thank you for your time and consideration on this critical issue for children’s health and well-being. We look forward to continuing to work with the City Council and Administration to make sure that all New York City families and children have access to the nutritional support they need and deserve to be healthy and thrive.


1 Food Insecurity Persists Post-Pandemic. New York State Comptroller May 2024:
2 Hunger in NYC. City Harvest 2024:
3 Child Hunger Data. City Harvest 2024:

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