No Kid Hungry New York 2021 End of Year Highlights

For many of us across New York, 2021 has been a challenging year. But despite the fear and loss that characterized much of 2021, there were countless moments of joy and progress, proving once again the indominable spirit of New York to rise together against adversity. No Kid Hungry New York is celebrating the achievements of the past year, from statewide legislation to innovations in school cafeterias. Read on to see our top 5 highlights from 2021!

1. Restaurant Meals Program Signed Into Law

In October 2021, Governor Hochul signed the Restaurant Meals Program into law, marking a significant improvement to food security for SNAP participants in New York who are disabled, senior or experiencing homelessness. These New Yorkers will now be able to use their SNAP benefits to purchase prepared meals from authorized restaurants along with traditional grocery store items. SNAP serves as a lifeline for many New Yorkers, and this legislation will help ensure that those who may have trouble accessing kitchen facilities can still have regular access to food.

Governor Hochul signs the Restaurant Meals Program into law while surrounded by champions of the legislation, including No Kid Hungry New York Director Rachel Sabella (left)

2. New York City Policy Agenda Shares Opportunities for Mayor-Elect Adams to Improve Food Security

When Mayor-Elect Adams takes office on January 1, 2022, he has the opportunity to reduce food insecurity for New Yorkers across all five boroughs. In this City and State opinion piece, No Kid Hungry New York Director Rachel Sabella provides four concrete actions that Mayor-Elect Adams can take to ensure every child in New York has access to three healthy meals every day. Learn more in our New York City Policy Agenda.

A staff member with The Campaign Against Hunger in Brooklyn loads a pallet of food for their food distribution program

3. La Jornada Food Pantry Feeds the Queens Community

La Jornada Food Pantry in Queens, New York has long been a resource for those in need of a helping hand. When Queens became the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic, La Jornada’s wide network of volunteers rose to meet the emergent need of their community. Learn more about La Jornada’s resiliency and the immense effort of Executive Director Pedro Rodriguez in No Kid Hungry’s “Rebuild With” video: How NYC is Feeding Kids During the Pandemic.

Volunteers at La Jornada pack food bags for distribution to community members

4. Sandy Creek Central School District Puts Smiles on Kids’ Faces and Food in their Bellies

Tracy Sullivan, Cook Manager at Sandy Creek Central School District in central New York, knew that students and staff in the district were grappling with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic during the last school year. So, she and her team brought both nutrition and joy to students through innovative programs and new initiatives. Read in Tracy’s own words how her team used school meals to bring fun and levity in the midst of a difficult year. 

Festive balloons welcome children to the cafeteria during the golden ticket contest

5. Hunger Heroes Hall of Fame Celebrates Nutrition Professionals Across New York

Across New York, nutrition professionals in school buildings and community organizations came to work ready to feed kids despite the challenges of the ongoing pandemic. These Hunger Heroes were integral to keeping New York’s children fed during the school building closures, and continue to be vital resources for children and families in the state. No Kid Hungry New York highlighted the work of these professionals in the Hunger Heroes Hall of Fame.

Hunger Hero Russell Simpkins and his cafeteria team at Freeport Public Schools


We wish you a happy and healthy 2022. Join us to make #NoKidHungry a reality in New York!