Staten Island Hunger Task Force September Meeting: Farm Bill Areas of Concern, Food For All


SI Hunger Task Force October 2nd Meeting

On Zoom

October 2nd, 2023, 3:30 PM to 4:30 PM

Kosher & Halal Food Needs on Staten Island

Special presentation by:

Rabbi Mendy Mirocznik – COJO-SI/ Igud Harabbonim

Iva Reuven – AurTorah Sephardic Minyan Food Pantry

Dr. Yitzchok Krakavev – VAAD of Staten Island

Iftikar – Director of NY Muslim-Jewish Community Center

Imam Zulqarnain Abdu-shahid – Bait Ul Jumaat House of Prayer

Ben Zaentz –  Met Council on Jewish Poverty

Committee Reports

Food For All

Farm Bill Update

Governance Committee 

Next Meeting November 6 2023  – Planning for Thanksgiving

SIHTF September 2023 Meeting Minutes

Susan Fowler: Bylaws

 The definition of members was solidified, as well as the requirements for being a member. There will be a membership form sent out. Calls for any interested parties to suggest amendments to the form. The goal is to formalize both the work that SIHTF is doing, as well as the roles,requirements, and expectations surrounding membership.

Food For All:

Terry Troia discussed:

8/24 Presentation by Elizabeth Angeles the Vice President of United Way. There was a detailed breakdown of the Farm Bill. The presentation is in a PowerPoint that should have been received by all task-force members.

8/17 Food for all taken to the Interreligious Leadership where Nicole Hunt, the Deputy Director of Advocacy for Food Bank gave a presentation on the farm bill from a different perspective.

It was important to see the different perspectives from different agencies because the Farm Bill is Large,Comprehensive, and Complex

Farm Bill Areas of Concern:

Link should have been sent for all SIHTF members to sign in support of Farm Bill

TEFAP(The Emergency Food Assistance Program) – Provides funding for food banks to purchase commodities, as well as providing for storage and refrigeration costs for food banks. This is critical in regards to operating the food banks that support pantries

SNAP(Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) – Most targeted part of the Farm bill politically. There is a push to increase work requirements, thereby reducing spending particularly with homeless people, youth who are aging out of the foster care system, and the Elderly. Increasing the work requirement age to 62. This is particularly challenging for the unhoused, as it is incredibly hard to sustain any type of employment without residence, and the work requirement would be very negatively impactful on this vulnerable population.

Staten Island has 0 city funded shelters that provide 3 meals to persons in need. There is pending legislation to allow SNAP to be used for prepared and hot foods which would greatly benefit recipients who are unhoused, or who live in single room occupancies without access to a kitchen. This was reflected in the presentations given by Both Nicole Hunt and Elizabeth Angeles.

Look for the link to sign your support for the Farm Bill

Farm Bill will most likely be voted on between now and Late November

This gives advocacy an opportunity to follow up with emails to Councilwoman Malliotakis, tailored as a food pantry member/coordinator within her district (impactful to give real numbers for meals per week/month/year)

“If the federal budget needs to be balanced, it should not be balanced on the backs of hungry people” – Rev. Terry Troia

Executive Committee:

Set agenda for this fall

September: Presentation by Jessica Minkoff the Strategic Volunteerism Program Manager for Hunger Free America

October: Presentation on Halal and Kosher food needs featuring a representative from Met Council as well as local Halal and Kosher pantry coordinators

November: Our needs for Turkeys and Holiday Meals

December; No Topic selected as of yet

Susan Fowler mentioned looking for collaborators for doing work with pet food

Meeting turned over to Tami DiCostanzo (CSS/Americorps Senior RSVP)

Tami welcomes Consuela Rodriguez from the BlueStar Family Food Pantry

Looking for more help in the volunteer committee. As of right now, Tami is the only one.

Tami has connected volunteers via the Americorp Seniors RSVP to Catholic charities, Feeding with TLC group, and SIPPS. Our guest speaker Jessica Minkoff also has a grant via Americorp for a Senior Demonstration Project to connect senior volunteers with anti hunger charities

Jessica Minkoff

Strategic Volunteerism Program Manager for Hunger Free America

Americorp SDP launched Feb 2023 and have since connected 20 volunteers with applicable charities. They excel at connecting highly skilled volunteers with anti-hunger charities. These volunteers have no contract, no stipend, and no background check. All nonprofit partners receive a volunteer request form. There are no limits to the amount of volunteers that can be requested, no minimum or maximum yearly or monthly hour requirements. The easiest to fill positions are for remote volunteers who can do highly skilled work such as Accounting, Grant Writing, and other high skill needs.

Where RSVP has broad scope volunteers, SDP brings on more highly skilled volunteers and positions.

Susan Fowler mentioned Publicity needs(definitely within the scope of SDP as per Jessica)

Mike Matthews asked if they worked with veteran’s groups (they have through other parties)

SDP needs to have a 501(c)3 Charity as the governing agency for their Volunteers

Other questions etc [email protected]

Jessica Minkoff left the meeting

Counsuela asked about PH food drop off sites.

Call 646 523-7274 about pantry food, Prepared food, hot items, perishables can be brought to 150 Richmond Terrace (Stuyvesant& Hamilton)

Susan asks for an update on Immigrant food needs

Terry says that at the Hungerford school there is an immense need for clothing, personal care items, toiletries, etc. These immigrants are desperate and have a nearly endless need for anything we can provide to them

We have had our first asylum case approved. Asylum for this individual was secured via Celeste Tesoriero who has pledged to help 5 immigrant families as an immigration attorney. Asylum is being fast tracked for Russian and Ukrainian Asylum Seekers.

Migration Resource Center is offering help on asylum cases and holding workshops in a donated storefront. The store front holds about 40 people, while there are regularly 100+ looking to get in. Currently we are looking for a larger space. We will be asking Stapleton UAME Church to sponsor an additional Saturday morning workshop (½ block from Hungerford)

Immigration attorneys are of paramount importance in this process, as they are hard to find, and exceedingly expensive when hired privately. Looking into CUNY Mobile Law Clinic.

Being granted asylum allows for the person to get a SSN, with a SSN they can get work and transition out of the shelter system, leaving space for new arrivals and others in need.

Richmond road Halal pantry leader being reached out to for upcoming meeting,

Stephanie Wu Winter- No Kid Hungry NY a campaign of Share our Strength

Strengthen federal nutrition programs that impact children (School Lunch, NSAP, WIC etc)

Terry Troia commented on a stop on HPNAP funding, meaning the discretionary spending for pantries has stopped city wide. This has been impactful across the board. It was notable during the distributions for Rosh Hashanah where there was shockingly little food from major pantries. Even with sourcing private funding we couldn’t even cover ⅔ of the families on the distribution lists.

We hope to see movement on HPNAP funding soon.

Banner Image: Hungry on Staten Island. Image Credit – Steve Knutson



SI Hunger Task Force

The SI Hunger Task Force is not a pantry. Instead, we connect community members to pantries and pantries to community and government resources.

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