Foodlink CEO says food insecurity is rising in Rochester

Foodlink CEO says food insecurity on rise in Rochester

Foodlink CEO says food insecurity on rise in Rochester

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Do you know where your next meal is coming from? For one in ten people in the Greater Rochester Area, their answer is no. That’s according to the latest data from Feeding America, which shows a huge jump in food insecurity in our area. 

News10NBC spoke with the CEO of Foodlink on why we’re seeing so many of our neighbors going hungry. In every county around Rochester, Feeding America says one in ten people are food insecure. From 2021 into 2022, over 30,000 additional people became food insecure in the Greater Rochester Area. 

“This report captures the impact of both inflation and rising food costs on houses in our region at that time,” Foodlink CEO Julia Tedesco said. “It also shows what happens when government programs designed and proven to reduce poverty and food insecurity are left to expire.”

Tedesco is talking about the federal child tax credit, universal free school meals, and increased SNAP, or food stamp, benefits. Those programs were all rolled out in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and expired by the end of 2022. 

New York State did respond with free lunches to every kid in many districts — but not every district. So what else can be done?

“It’s always an increase to SNAP,” Tedesco said. It’s not an easy ask, it happens at the federal level with the Farm Bill. But there’s no better anti-poverty measure in the nation than increased snap benefits […] For every meal that the emergency meal network distributes, SNAP benefits provide twelve meals to people facing food insecurity. the ability for people to have dollars that people can spend on food via SNAP food stamps has a far greater impact than what the emergency food network can do.”

Tedecso said in the face of rising food costs and food insecurity — Foodlink is seeing donations go down.