GENESEO, N.Y., Nov. 7, 2023 – The Livingston County Department of Health has developed a strong ally in SUNY Geneseo’s LIVES Program in helping to combat food insecurity throughout the region through a series of pop-up food pantries and donation centers.
A key focus area within Livingston County’s Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP), food security has experienced a decreased since the beginning of the pandemic. In 2022, the County conducted a food security survey, which reported that nearly 32 percent of respondents were not receiving adequate food in a given day. Additionally, the survey found that limited financial resources along with difficulty accessing grocery stores were two of the largest contributors to food insecurity throughout the County.
In response, the County’s Department of Health partnered with both Foodlink, a not-for-profit dedicated to ending hunger and building healthier communities by addressing both the symptoms and root causes of food insecurity, and the LIVES Program to host a series of pop-up food pantries to ensure access for healthy, nutritional items for those with food insecurities.
“The work that our employees are undertaking with the support of SUNY Geneseo’s LIVES Program has had a significant positive impact on families throughout our County,” said Jennifer Rodriguez, Public Health Director for Livingston County. “Through pop-up pantries and other means, we’ve been able to provide nutritious meals for hundreds of families. I’m proud of the work being done and the initiatives being implemented to help curtail hunger within Livingston County.”
The results have been profound. In total, the County has helped to support three pop-up pantries since this past August and has served over 450 families. A fourth pop-up pantry is scheduled for later this month.
“We’re committed to providing accessibility to health services including nutrition,” added Rodriguez. “By offering these pop-up food pantries and developing strong partnerships, we are building a foundation for economic growth, healthy, sustainable communities, educational advancements and more.”
The LIVES Program, which is sponsored in part by Livingston County as a result of money received through opioid settlements from the New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports , (Learning Independence, Vocational, and Educational Skills) is a four-year transition program located on the campus of the State University of New York College at Geneseo. The LIVES Program provides students with intellectual and/or other developmental disabilities the opportunity to become more independent, as well as learn vocational and educational skills within an inclusive community.
The LIVES Program is an educational and vocational initiative funded through a collaborative partnership with SUNY Geneseo, Genesee Valley Educational Partnership (GVEP), Hilltop Industries (a Division of The ArcGLOW) and the Finger Lakes Developmental Disabilities Services Office. It is designed to provide transition and post-secondary programs for students with intellectual and/or other developmental disabilities who are eligible for OPWDD (Office for Persons with Developmental Disabilities) services (21 years and older section) and live in Chemung, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben, Wayne, Wyoming and Yates Counties.
To learn more or volunteer to assist with future pop-up-pantries, please call the Livingston County Department of Health at (585) 243-7299.
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About Livingston County:
Founded in 1821, Livingston County, N.Y., is home to more than 61,000 residents in 17 towns located across 631 square miles of the Finger Lakes region.