Massive food drive supports Capital Region families, New York farmers

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ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Hundreds of cars lined up, waiting to receive a free tote bag of fresh goods at Metropolitan Baptist Church. As part of the State’s Nourish New York initiative holiday distribution, the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York, in coordination with Catholic Charities, hosted a drive-through food distribution of New York agricultural products to help people in need. 

“We hope someday the need will go down, there’s a fight there, but we’re willing to help with that fight,” said Vincent W. Colonno, CEO of Catholic Charities. “With COVID, the need went up 40%, then we thought we were coming out of COVID a little bit and we saw the need coming down a bit. If you have been to the grocery store lately, the grocery stories prices are through the roof,” added Molly Nicol, CEO of Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York.

Through Nourish New York, the Regional Food Bank has purchased New York apples from Hudson River Fruit Distributors, eggs from Brey’s Eggs, Chobani yogurt, cabbage, and butternut squash from Black Horse Farms. The event will reach approximately 650 families and support local farmers.

The “Nourish New York” program was established at the beginning of the COVID pandemic. Gov. Kathy Hochul signed this state-run program into law this past weekend. Since the launch of the program, the Regional Food Bank has purchased more than seven million pounds of nutritious foods from farmers through the Nourish New York program, including 2,362,607 pounds of surplus dairy products and 1,380,174 pounds of produce.

“People don’t know we have one of the best agricultural communities in the country but we do, and to be able to show off that food and get it to people who need it at this time is so critical,” says New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Richard A. Ball.

“We have so much to be thankful for, but we’re blessed to be a blessing,” said Pastor Damone Paul Johnson at the Metropolitan New Testament Mission Baptist Church. The church also held its annual Thanksgiving food drive after this morning’s mass food drive. The church’s annual event supports over 600 additional families.  

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