The Community Action Organization of Western New York is launching a new nutrition assistance program with funding from the CARES Act. The CARES Act is a $2.2 trillion economic stimulus bill signed by Former President Donald Trump last March, amidst the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Nutrition Assistance Initiative includes adding two locations to C.A.O’s mobile food pantry program; at the John F. Kennedy Community Center in Buffalo’s Willert Park neighborhood and at the Angola Community Center in Angola.
C.A.O Emergency and Family Services Director Brandi Haynes said food insecurity was already an issue for many Western New Yorkers, pre-pandemic, and the problem of accessing fresh foods has only been exacerbated over the last 12 months.
“A lot of our clients are in food deserts,” she said. “So there is not a reliable source of food near them. They may have to catch two or three buses which puts them at jeopardy for exposure.”
Haynes said the expansion into Angola is part of a larger effort to makes inroads into Erie County’s rural areas.
“We are the federally designated anti-poverty agency for Western New York,” she said. “We serve the entire County of Erie, and that is one of the things we are working on.”
The mobile food pantry in Angola serves residents of Angola, Farnham, Brant and Derby.
The initiative is also expanding its delivery services for seniors and people with disabilities. More information on their new program can be found here.