ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Tuesday night, the New York State Assembly passed a bill that would establish a statewide Restaurant Meals Program as part of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in New York.

This is a federal option through SNAP that allows homeless, disabled, and/or elderly residents who can’t prepare meals for themselves to use their SNAP benefits to purchase lower-cost hot or prepared food at approved restaurants and retailers throughout New York.

“The Restaurant Meals Program is a win-win for New York,” says No Kid Hungry New York Director Rachel Sabella. “At a time when we’ve seen rising food insecurity as a result of the devastating impact of COVID-19, establishing this program will help New Yorkers who often struggle the most to regularly access food – including seniors, the disabled and those experiencing homelessness. At the same time, the program can provide much needed economic support to restaurants and small businesses that have been hard hit during the pandemic, strengthening the local economy as our state continues to rebuild.”