NYS Restaurant Resiliency Program brings Needed Relief to Local Restaurants While Feeding our Neighbors in Need
In October of 2021, New York State Governor Kathy Hochul launched a new initiative for the Restaurant Resiliency Program (RRP) to provide relief to the restaurant industry, which continues to face severe challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic. The RRP provides ten New York State food banks with $25 million in state funding to source meals from qualified restaurants that will be delivered to emergency feeding programs associated with the food bank’s network of providers, such as food pantries, soup kitchens, and shelters. The emergency food providers are working collaboratively with Long Island Cares, Inc.-The Harry Chapin Regional Food Bank who’s working directly with several eligible restaurants which have been approved by an agreement plan developed by NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets (AGM). Participating restaurants are required to show the capacity to develop meals aligning with MyPlate.gov standards, hold up-to-date licenses/operating permits, and have passed recent health inspections. RRP encourages participating restaurants to use New York ingredients where possible.
The COVID-19 pandemic has created significant challenges for New York families, restaurants, farmers, and food donation and distribution systems. Building on the successful Nourish New York initiative, the Restaurant Resiliency Program awarded Long Island Cares, Inc. $793,657 to provide to restaurants that offer meals and other food-related items to Long Islanders within distressed or underrepresented communities. Of this amount, $714,291 will be spent on purchasing meals from restaurants based on Long Island, or those able to deliver to food bank member agencies in Nassau and Suffolk County. While the additional funding expires on March 31, 2022, Long Island Cares is advocating for the program to continue at least through the end of 2022.
Since implementing the program in late October, Long Island Cares’ staff have met with dozens of local restaurants to discuss the Restaurant Resiliency Program and to assist restaurants with the application process and menu planning. By reaching out to the Long Island Restaurant Association, Long Island African American Chamber of Commerce and to the restaurants directly, Long Island Cares has assembled a diverse group of local restaurants that are providing delicious and healthy meals to feed the 218,000 Long Islanders struggling with food insecurity. Long Island Cares is also providing prepared meals at our six satellite locations and through our mobile outreach programs that support seniors, veterans and the homeless. In November and December, Long Island Cares and our restaurant partners have already provided nearly 7,000 meals to our member agencies and satellite locations.
The Restaurant Resiliency Program is not only having a positive impact on the financial health of Long Island restaurants it’s having a positive impact on the way the restaurant industry views hunger and food insecurity in our region. While many greatly appreciate the additional income, they also realize that they’re partnering with the food bank to respond to the needs of people that are struggling to feed their families. Among the restaurants collaborating with Long Island Cares are Haskell’s Seafood Market in Westhampton Beach, The Refuge in Melville, Trento in Farmingdale, Butera’s in Woodbury, K.Pacho in Garden City and many more.
For more information on the Restaurant Resiliency Program visit the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets website or call the Long Island Cares RRP at (631) 582-3663 Ext 102.
Paule T. Pachter, A.C.S.W., L.M.S.W.
Chief Executive Officer
Long Island Cares, Inc.