New York State and the meal kit company HelloFresh is extending a program that provides free meals to veterans and military families who are facing hunger and food insecurity during the pandemic. 

The partnership is being extended into the second quarter of 2021, Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday announced. 

"Far too many service members in our communities have been forced to endure obstacles during the COVID-19 pandemic, and, sadly, one of those has been a lack of food," Cuomo said. "Especially during these uncertain times, it's critical we ensure the brave men and women who served our nation have access to nutritious food and the continuation of this successful collaboration with HelloFresh will help ensure these heroes do not go hungry."

The program started last July and so far has delivered 200,000 meals to veterans and their families living in New York City. 

The pandemic has created a spike in unemployment and an economic crisis. For people already living on the personal financial margins, the crisis has been devastating, leading to long lines at food banks around the country. 

"We repay the debt we owe our veterans by ensuring they have good jobs, decent homes and fresh food," Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul said. "I'm proud to see New York companies like HelloFresh step up and partner with New York State to make sure our veterans do not go hungry as a result of COVID-19."