Budget Doubles Emergency Food Funding, Increases City's First Readers Initiative

Increases to the Emergency Food Assistance Program and to the City's First Readers literacy initiative were among the adopted changes for the upcoming New York City Budget.

Council members Stephen Levin and Barry Grodenchik released a joint statementapplauding the commitment to improving food security city-wide. “Food insecurity can be found in every corner of our city, and the increase to $16 million for emergency food will go very far to ensure that food pantries and soup kitchens will be better able to feed hungry New Yorkers. As we’ve said throughout the budget process, no New Yorker should have to go to bed hungry, and I applaud the decision to meet this critical and growing need,” said Council Member Stephen T. Levin, Chair of the General Welfare Committee.

The budget also increased funding for the literacy initiative City's First Readers. This initiative supports a coalition of nonprofits that provide literacy development through parent engagement, direct programming, and book distribution for children 0 to 5. "When the council first had the opportunity to propose new initiatives we thought about what could have the greatest long term impact in our community," said Council Member Stephen Levin. "It is often the case that by the time children start kindergarten many are already literacy deficient. By supporting early interventions for children through ages zero to five, we have the potential to improve outcomes for generations."