Food insecurity continues to be a serious issue across the country, including many areas in New York. Several counties in the viewing area have some of the highest child food insecurity rates in the state.
“There’s a huge need for food. There’s very high poverty in the county," said Oswego County Catholic Charities Executive Director Mary Margaret Pekow.
Pekow said food insecurity is a problem that has become too common.
What You Need To Know
- Food insecurity continues to be a serious issue across the country, including many areas in New York
- A number of area counties have some of the highest child food insecurity rates in the state
- Campaigns held by the American Dairy Association like the "Fill A Glass With Hope" campaign are helping to fight the battle against hunger
“We see a lot of people in our food pantry who have never been here before, who just don’t even know where to start because they either lost a job or some medical disability happened and now they’re again having to make that choice. ‘Do I do this or do I buy food?’ " Pekow said.
Oswego County is among the top 10 New York counties with a high rate of food insecure children. Other counties in the top 10 outside of the New York metro area include Montgomery, Chautauqua, Broome, Monroe, Cattaraugus and Franklin.
While food banks and pantries continue to work to help people in need, other agencies are also stepping up.
“The Fill a Glass campaign goes all across New York State,” said American Dairy Association North East Registered Dietician Michelle Barber.
During September, the American Dairy Association held its Fill a Glass with Hope campaign in conjunction with Save-A-Lot stores in Oswego County. Donations made by customers allowed milk to be purchased at a reduced rate.
It allowed Catholic Charities to supply families with children with this important product.
“Milk is one of the most demanded items in food banks, but the least donated items because of the refrigeration process," said Barber.
Barber said milk is particularly important for families with kids, so programs like this are crucial to ensure they get what they need.
“Milk is one of my most recommended foods to provide to children because it has 13 essential nutrients. You’re packing a lot of nutrition in an eight-ounce glass,” she said.
The goal is to continue working to get milk in the hands of families that need it.
“Sometimes a lot of the groups like to teach, especially the young people, how to give back to the community. So the youth groups do food drives and things like that,” said Pekow.
In New York, one in 10 people face hunger, including one in seven children, according to Feeding America. The American Dairy Association has also worked extensively with Price Chopper Market 32 stores to help supply food banks and pantries with milk through the Fill a Glass With Hope campaign.