About Us

Food Bank of Central New York is a not-for-profit organization working to eliminate hunger through nutritious food distribution, education and advocacy in cooperation with the community. 

Where Our Food Comes From

Food Bank of CNY is the main food supplier to emergency food programs within an eleven county service area: Cayuga, Chenango, Cortland, Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis, Madison, Oneida, Onondaga, Oswego and St. Lawrence.

Types of Food:

Donated Foods:  We rely on food donations from food manufacturers, grocers, wholesalers, businesses and individuals to supplement our food inventory and these donations help to stretch our member programs’ food budgets and enhance their inventories.

USDA Foods:  The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) provides commodity foods, meats, vegetables and fruits to the Food Bank for food pantries, soup kitchens and shelters that provide food assistance to those in need. 

Wholesale Foods:  Food Bank is committed to providing a wide variety of nutritious food. We are able to complement donated food with food we purchase for our inventory.  Due to our vendor agreements, we are able to purchase large amounts of high-demand foods — more than 100 different types — and offer these foods to our agencies at cost.

Food Bank Services Provide Support to the Emergency Food Network

Grants:  As the local contractor for the NYS Department of Health’s Hunger Prevention and Nutrition Assistance Program (HPNAP), the Food Bank supplies annual grants to our emergency food programs to help cover the costs of food, capital equipment and the non-food operating expenses of managing a food assistance program.

Nutrition Education and Expertise:  The Food Bank’s registered dietitians educate our network about food safety and sanitation, creating balanced pantry packages, preparing healthier recipes at soup kitchens, and general nutrition information.

Networking:  We work with our member programs to build relationships, collaborate and coordinate services, and establish partnerships to share information and ideas.

Technical Assistance:  Food Bank provides training in record keeping, safe food handling and best practices to protect the integrity of food distributed through the network as well as the privacy of program recipients.

Model Program Education Series:  We work to improve our programs from good to great by providing workshops, training and materials to help our network implement optimization strategies and increase effectiveness.

Supplemental Orders:  To prevent empty shelves and food shortages, Food Bank provides free supplemental shipments of core food products to our member programs. These shipments ensure that food is available in our emergency food programs whenever a person in need requests food assistance.

Advocacy:  We continuously educate our elected officials, community groups and the public on the extent of hunger and ways to get engaged in the effective long-term solutions needed to eliminate hunger.

The core of our work is achieved by partnering with local member programs that distribute food to families in need.  The key partners that make up our emergency food network are food pantries, soup kitchens and emergency shelters.  Other not-for-profit agencies such as day care centers, rehabilitation centers, senior centers and group homes are able to utilize membership as a way to supplement their agency food needs.

Support to the Community

Child Nutrition Programs:

Kids Cafe:  Provides children with nutritious meals at after-school programs in areas of high need where they have an opportunity to do homework and participate in educational and recreational activities.  Children who participate in our Kids Cafe Club learn about the benefits of good nutrition and exercise - motivating them to “eat well and play hard” every day.   (Need R/trademark label)

Summer Food Service Program (SFSP):  Sponsored by the New York State Education Department, we provide free breakfasts and lunches to sites during the summer months for children who ordinarily receive free and reduced-price breakfasts and lunches during the school year.

CookShop:  A food and nutrition education program that increases elementary school children’s knowledge about, preference for, and consumption of vegetables and whole grains through hands-on cooking experiences in the classroom.

Helping People in Need Transition to Self-Sufficiency

Nutrition Outreach and Education Program:  Food Bank works to increase participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP - formerly food stamps) through education sessions, pre-screening and application assistance.

Food $en$e: Designed to increase self-sufficiency by helping individuals in need stretch their food dollars, customers invest their own resources in the Food Bank’s food buying club.

Community Food Security:  Through investing dollars with local farmers, establishing gardens at member programs, distributing container gardens to low-income individuals and connecting families to local Farmers’ Markets, the Food Bank works to improve access to fresh produce for families in need.

Nutrition Education and Expertise:  Food Bank registered dietitians help families in need make better food choices by providing recipes, food demonstrations and education sessions to increase consumption of healthier foods.

Why We Are Here

Hunger is a very serious problem in the United States today.  Despite its great wealth, an estimated 1 in 8 Americans rely on emergency food assistance.  Among the thousands of people who depend on charitable food programs in central and northern New York:

  • 37% of emergency food recipients are children under the age of 18
  • 14% have no health insurance coverage
  • 42% choose between paying for food and paying for utilities
  • 24% have at least one employed family member
  • Of those unemployed, 45% have lost their job within the last two years
  • 69% of clients have annual incomes below the official federal poverty line
  • 47% have an annual income below $10,000