The Food Bank of Central New York gave away 59,000 pounds of food at the New York State Fairgrounds on Tuesday.

“We’ve got some strawberries, tomatoes, potatoes, onions,” said Karen Belcher, the Food Bank of Central New York interim executive director. “Then we’ve got some dairy products. We got milk, yogurt, cheese, cottage cheese.”

It’s part of the Nourish New York initiative.

The Governor’s Office provided $25 million to food banks statewide to support families and farmers.

“At the same time the farmers lost the market share, the food banks saw their demands in Central New York go up over 20 percent and in some parts of the state, 200 percent on their services,” said Richard Ball, the New York state commissioner of agriculture and markets.

“Looking at last year to this year, we’ve seen a 46 percent increase in pounds out, so definitely busier,” said Belcher.

To help meet the demand, food banks are buying from local farmers – saving food and helping them financially.

“People need it, farmers need the customers, so this gives me hope,” said Ball. “I think that’s connecting dots at its best at a time when we need it the most.”

The program is expected to feed 20,000 households, already 1,000 in this area.

“It’s been waves from little kids. Smiles. Thank yous. It’s humbling,” said Belcher. “Emotional too, thinking about the impact you’re having.”

Belcher said more resources are available. Contact the food bank (315) 437-1899 for more information.