People struggling with food insecurity in the Empire State may soon get hot meals from restaurants using public assistance benefits.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul says allowing people on food assistance to get prepared meals from restaurants not only helps those with food insecurity but also helps restaurants trying to recover from the economic effects of the pandemic.

Kathy Whyte/ WNBF News photo

The Democrat on October 4 signed legislation establishing a statewide Restaurant Meals Program as part of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. The legislation orders to the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance to apply for USDA approval to authorize the program to allow the homeless, elderly and disabled who are on SNAP to use their benefits for prepared or hot foods from participating restaurants.

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Hochul also announced the $25 million Restaurant Resiliency Program to provide funding to New York’s network of food banks and emergency food providers to purchase prepared meals from restaurant to deliver to families in need.

Until now, SNAP recipients in New York could not use their benefits to buy prepared goods, preventing people who don’t have access to cooking or food preparation, like the homeless, from using SNAP benefits.

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