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Anti-Hunger advocates push food bill for kids on summer break

Monica Sandreczki
Richard Hanna, right, talked with reps from organizations working to fight food insecurity.

Rep. Richard (R-Barneveld) Hanna paid a visit to an urban farm in Binghamton on Monday to meet with representatives from organizations that try to address food security.

Randi Quackenbush works with the Food Bank of the Southern Tier. She asked Hanna to consider supporting the new Hunger Free Summer for Kids Act.

"There’s two options. For some families, they could get a summer EBT card, which they would get $30 up to $100 per household," said Quackenbush. "They would just get a little extra food stamp money in the summer, which would be the simplest thing.”

It would also allow kids who do eat lunch for free at a particular site in the summer to take the food home with them.

Almost half of all kids in the Southern Tier qualify for free and reduced lunches, according to the Food Bank of the Southern Tier.

Hanna said he wants to review the bill, but on principle will consider it.

According to the Family Enrichment Network, seniors are also one of the groups most affected by hunger in Broome County.

“Tradition often gets in the way of seniors who could sign up for benefits,” said Rose Anne Greco, who handles food stamps for FEN.

“They grew up in a different time. And pride has a lot to do with applying for benefits that they’re eligible for," said Greco. "You know they’ll say, ‘I worked all my life. I’m not asking the government for anything.’ And you know, I just try to tell them, ‘You’re eligible. You’re eligible. So get your share!’”

In 2013, about 15 percent of American seniors were food insecure, according to the National Foundation to End Senior Hunger.