TROY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The city of Troy has been selected to be part of a statewide initiative aimed at combating poverty and homelessness.

Over 600,000 people are believed to be homeless in the United States. Many are in need of food, but pantries like the one at St. Joseph’s Church in Troy provide help.

“The volunteers here are wonderful,” Sandi Dinicola said. “They try to help the families that need food to make ends meet. They want to make a difference every day.”

And there’s additional hope for change on the horizon in the form of the Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative. Troy is one of 10 cities in the state selected to benefit from it.

Dave Lewis is the head chef with a food program that helps feed the homeless.

“Seems to be a mixture of veterans and senior citizens and families, and some folks are mentally disabled,” he said.

Lewis said they’ll take any assistance they can get.

“It’s good news because we see homeless people actually sleeping right here on this campus,” he said.

The new initiative will provide funding that goes directly toward efforts to reduce poverty.

On Tuesday, the city will announce a partnership with the state sponsored program Commission on Economic Opportunity, which focuses on the best measures for attacking poverty at its source.

Lewis knows how he’d like to see it done.

“Maybe it can spread out to the organizations that are already serving,” he said.

An antipoverty taskforce will be created, and then plans will be formed. It will be a difficult task, but volunteers said they’re ready to help in any way they can.

“We have to take it a challenge at a time like we take one breath at a time,” Dinicola said.

Organizers at St. Joseph’s Food Pantry said they help hundreds of people every month, but their goal remains the same: to see poverty come to an end. They hope the new initiative will get them one step closer.