(WBNG) -- A program advocates say has been crucial to feeding New Yorkers during the pandemic received a big boost from the state.
Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) announced the Nourish NY Initiative will receive an additional $25M in state funding as part of New York's 2021 budget; previously, the program had already been allocated $35M, meaning it will receive $60M in total.
The program connects farmers, who faced many struggles even before the coronavirus, with residents dealing with food insecurity. Food banks receive the state funds, purchase the products from the farmers at market rates, and then distribute that food to those in need.
Nourish NY advocates told 12 News Monday the announcement was music to their ears.
"This is a great chance to purchase local, nutritious food from our NY farmers, and get it into the pantries, right onto the tables of those who need it the most," said State Rep. Donna Lupardo (D, District 123).
Lupardo, who also chairs the state assembly's agriculture committee, previously told 12 News the one thing she hoped was included in the budget was more funding for the program.
The Food Bank of the Southern Tier, the local agency that receives the funding, said it has spent most of the money so far on dairy products.