Expanding Statewide Access to Culturally Appropriate Emergency Food
Healthy Food, Healthy Lives
December 14, 2022
Approximately 35% of Jewish Americans keep kosher or prefer consuming kosher food, and 83% of Muslim Americans keep halal or prefer consuming halal food.
Data suggest a significant number of these New Yorkers are at risk of food insecurity. Most food banks and pantries do not understand kosher and halal requirements and norms and lack sufficient products with the appropriate certifications. Metropolitan New York Coordinating Council on Jewish Poverty (Met Council) supports the expansion of pantries and provides technical assistance to food banks and food pantries that serve kosher and halal foods. This past summer, Met Council convened 70 representatives from pantries that serve kosher and halal foods to document policy solutions, which it shared at the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health. In 2022, NYHealth awarded Met Council a grant to build a coalition of emergency food providers and other stakeholders to make the case for a State policy agenda that supports a culturally responsive and equitable emergency food system.
Under this grant, Met Council will research and document (1) kosher and halal food needs across New York State; (2) the geographic distribution of food-insecure Jewish and Muslim populations; and (3) community-specific challenges related to infrastructure and policy. It will conduct site visits and surveys to understand the systems and funding models to determine how best to serve food-insecure kosher and halal communities beyond New York City. Met Council will work with a consultant to create actionable recommendations for food pantries, food banks, community groups, and policymakers at the local, regional, and State levels. It will also convene a statewide workgroup that will develop and advocate for statewide policy changes.