New York State Awards Food Bank of Hudson Valley $10.7 Million to Build New Facility in Montgomery
John Jordan | April 26, 2022
ALBANY—New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced on April 25th a $10.7-million award to Food Bank of the Hudson Valley for the construction of a new 40,000-square-foot food distribution warehouse in the Town of Montgomery.
State officials noted that the increased demand for emergency food assistance due to the COVID-19 pandemic necessitated a larger facility with additional capacity for cold storage and sorting. The new 40,000-square-foot warehouse is expected to benefit 179,000 low- to moderate-income New Yorkers currently receiving assistance from Hudson Valley food banks.
Sara Gunn, director of the Food Bank of the Hudson Valley, said that the new facility will double the not-for-profit’s storage and office capacity of its current location at 195 Hudson St. in Cornwall-on-Hudson. A firm date on the relocation has not been established. Gunn said that the Food Bank is hopeful it can complete the move to the new location at the corner of Route 416 and 211 adjacent to the new Medline facility, by the end of 2023. Its current landlord has agreed to have the Food Bank utilize its Cornwall space rent-free for the next two years.
“The ongoing financial impact of the pandemic has left more New Yorkers to rely on their local food pantries to feed their families,” Gov. Hochul said. “New York is committed to addressing food insecurity and combatting hunger in our communities, and this new larger facility will strengthen our emergency food network in the Hudson Valley and help more residents in need.”
The award to the Town of Montgomery was made through the Community Development Block Grant CARES program administered by New York State Homes and Community Renewal. Due to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the demand for food assistance across the Hudson Valley Region grew substantially and the Food Bank of the Hudson Valley outgrew its current facility.
“We at the Food Bank of the Hudson Valley are thrilled to be receiving this $10.7-million grant to fund our new warehouse/office space in the historic Village of Montgomery,” Gunn said. “Receiving this grant is a game-changer because it enables us to reach the needs of 179,000 people in our region who are experiencing food insecurity.”
Molly Nicol, CEO Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York and the Food Bank of the Hudson Valley, said, “The Regional Food Bank of the Hudson Valley is thrilled to be partnering with the Town of Montgomery to establish this vital resource in the Historic Village of Montgomery to meet the need for food assistance in the community. This new warehouse will enable us to better fulfill our mission. We will be closer to our donation partners, closer to our distribution partners, closer to our neighbors in need and truly imbedded in this wonderful community. It is so exciting to imagine a new and better future for the region.” The Food Bank of the Hudson Valley is a branch of the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York.
The new distribution warehouse will provide increased capacity to obtain, store, and distribute food donations to 400 member agencies in six counties in the lower Hudson Valley: Orange, Ulster, Dutchess, Sullivan, and Putnam counties. It is estimated that nearly 179,000 low- to moderate-income New Yorkers in the Hudson Valley are currently receiving food assistance. The expanded facility will also give volunteers and staff sufficient space to gather safely to assist preparing food for recipients, preventing the further spread of COVID-19. The Food Bank of the Hudson Valley currently utilizes approximately 20,000 square feet of space at its facility in Cornwall. The Food Bank currently employs 25 workers and expects to hire additional staff once operational in Montgomery.
Additional funding for the project includes a $1.9-million contribution from the Food Bank of the Hudson Valley and nearly $800,000 in private donations.
The federal Community Development Block Grant CARES Act funding was allocated to states to support community projects that address pandemic-related health and safety issues and improve public services.
Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, “This $10.7-million award will enable the Food Bank of the Hudson Valley to improve distributions to 400 pantries and emergency food providers while keeping essential staff and volunteers healthy and safe. Due to the pandemic and rising costs, hundreds of thousands of additional New Yorkers have turned to their local food pantries for assistance to put meals on their tables. HCR is committed to helping localities across the state strengthen their capacity to provide life-enhancing public services that result in thriving and more equitable communities. By helping the Food Bank build the infrastructure necessary to make these urgently needed distributions, we can ensure that food bank patrons in the Hudson Valley have reliable access to fresh and nutritious food for the long-term.”
Orange County Executive Steven M. Neuhaus said, “Orange County has long considered the Food Bank an important strategic partner and I am ecstatic to hear about this important funding provided by New York State. We are grateful for everything that the Food Bank has contributed to assisting some of the most vulnerable residents in our communities and will continue to work closely with the Food Bank to ensure that residents, including many older adults, are able to obtain food.”
Town of Montgomery Supervisor Brian Maher said, “This truly was a team effort. Over the past two years the town has been working with the Hudson Valley Food Bank to do our best to ensure this facility would be built in the Town of Montgomery. Our team at the town worked diligently with the Village of Montgomery, the NYS Homes and Community Renewal, our partners at the Hudson Valley Food Bank and other local stakeholders and county, state and federal elected officials to ensure this day would come. We are very proud to call Montgomery the future epicenter for local food pantries in the Hudson Valley. This project also has had the support from our community as well and that is something that means a great deal to us.”
Conor Eckert, the former executive director of the Town of Montgomery Industrial Development Agency and director of economic development for the Town of Montgomery, said the Food Bank approached the town with the 40,000-square-foot requirement and a search was conducted that eventually resulted in the Food Bank’s selection of the six-acre parcel at the Aden Brook Farm.
“The funding for this project is vital for both driving economic development and combating food insecurity in the Hudson Valley in the wake of the pandemic,” said Eckert, who now serves as the vice president of business attraction and senior development officer of the Orange County Partnership. “This project will help pave the way for more resilient, healthier communities, while creating good-paying jobs.”