Local Needs

Food Insecurity

In 2022, 44.2 million people in the United States lived in food-insecure households. This means that they did not have easy and regular access to quality food and may have frequently gone hungry.

Source, USDA Economic Research Service 

Food Insecurity in the Hudson Valley

One in 10 people across the Hudson Valley are food insecure. How can an area with such bounty be plagued with this problem?

Food insecure people often have to make a choice whether to purchase food to feed their families or pay rent, medical bills and transportation costs. Their choices are hard ones to make.

Read how Community Foundations of the Hudson Valley is trying to help.

Read the Community Foundations of the Hudson Valley’s special report: Food Security in the Hudson Valley (PDF file).

Food Insecurity in Ulster County

In 2020, the county with the highest rate of food insecurity in the Hudson Valley was Sullivan County at 11.5%, followed by Ulster County at 11.3%, both being greater than NYS’ rate of 9.6%. 

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Source, Hudson Valley Public Health Collaborative (HVPHC) Mid-Hudson Community Health Assessment 2022-2024

Access to Healthy Foods in Ulster County

The County Health Rankings and Roadmaps measure of the food environment accounts for proximity to healthy foods and income. The index is a scale that ranges from zero (worst) to 10 (best). Limited access to healthy foods estimates the percentages of the population that is low income and does not live close to a grocery store. Food insecurity estimates the percentage of the population that did not have access to a reliable source of food during the past year.

Ulster County had the lowest food environment index.

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Source, Hudson Valley Public Health Collaborative (HVPHC) Mid-Hudson Community Health Assessment 2022-2024

Local at Heart Supports These Local Food Banks

Family of New Paltz | Gardiner Food Pantry | St Joseph’s Food Pantry | SUNY of New Paltz Christian Center Food Pantry

Did you know…

In 2021, the Food Bank of Hudson Valley distributed 49,877,444 pounds of food throughout 23 counties of New York, the equivalent of 41.6 million meals.
– Food Bank of Hudson Valley 2021 Impact Report

The New Paltz Rotary’s Backpack Program is designed to meet the needs of hungry children on weekends, when other resources are not available. The program provides backpacks filled with food that is child-friendly, shelf-stable, and easily-consumed. Bags are packed each week by school staff and discreetly distributed to participating children every Friday afternoon.

For the 2022-2023 school year, the club provided 2,342 backpacks, distributing a total of 18,360 meals that supplied ~70 students each week. 
– www.newpaltzrotary.com

633,790 children in New York lived in food-insecure households in 2021.
Feeding America, Map The Meal Gap, Food Insecurity among Child Population in New York

The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that one in every seven Ulster County residents lives in poverty. 

The New York State Education Department reported that in the 2020-2021 academic year, 47% of students enrolled in public schools were categorized as ‘economically disadvantaged.’ 
– Addressing Food Insecurity in Ulster County, Chelsea Villalba (2022)

Food  pantries served a staggering half million meals last year and it’s not enough to meet the need in our area. Hunger is an invisible epidemic and the hungry are not strangers — they are, in fact, all around you.

Many think hunger is not their problem. Actually, it’s everyone’s concern. Incredibly, pantries are even opening on military bases and colleges. Can you imagine soldiers risking their lives yet their families go hungry?

Many users of food pantries are working people just like you. After paying rent, heat, electricity bills, many are forced to consider pantries as a last resort. That’s because sadly, food is a lower priority than shelter!

The need is great yet New York State’s allocation to pantries is $16 million short in keeping pantries stocked!