A new bill, signed into law by Gov. Kathy Hochul on Monday, Oct. 4, seeks to allow homeless, elderly and disabled SNAP recipients to use their benefits to buy hot meals prepared by local restaurants and delis at discounted prices. 

“It’s unconscionable that in a state as prosperous as New York, many residents still struggle to get enough food to feed their families,” Gov. Hochul said in a statement. “This pandemic continues to impact the wallets and homes of a vast number of New Yorkers, and we’re taking any and all actions to help them support themselves and their loved ones.”

Prior to the signing of this law, which still needs federal approval, SNAP recipients were not legally authorized to use their benefits to purchase prepared food, Gov. Hochul’s office explained. This kept many New Yorkers, namely those who don’t have access to a working kitchen or the ability to cook, from effectively using their SNAP benefits.

Also on Monday, Gov. Hochul launched the $25 million Restaurant Resiliency Program, which will give money to food banks and other emergency food providers to purchase prepared meals from New York restaurants and deliver them to families in need. 

To participate, restaurants have to create meals that align with federal standards, be up to date on all licensing requirements and have passed all health inspections. The state also gives an extra thumbs up to restaurants that buy ingredients from local farmers. 

Additional information and an application form for restaurants can be found here

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