Central New York, Community, Food, Politics

Pasta sauce could pick up the slack of potential budget cuts

The local Food Bank feeds over 360 thousand people throughout Central New York. But the Trump administration's proposed budget cuts could drastically reduce the number of people helped, including many who are homeless.

By Jake Lapin, SYRACUSE, N.Y.— The budget proposal from the Trump administration last week has been a cause of concern for food banks across the country.

As it stands now, the plan would defund $193 million from helping people in need with food stamps by making restrictions for the programs a lot stricter.

Central New York would take a brutal blow as a result, especially when it comes to the cuts in the Supplement Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

“The Food Bank of Central New York and the network of 200 food banks across the country only produce about 10 percent of the meals that the SNAP program produces into the community,” said Becky Lare, the Advocacy Resource Manager at the food bank here in Syracuse. “So any cut to SNAP would be devastating, we couldn’t possibly make that up.”

30 percent of people in Syracuse used food stamps last year, according to the Food Bank.

More than 360 thousand people in 11 counties receive help from the CNY branch.

That large amount of people in need resulted in the distribution of more than 13 million pounds of food.

John Tumino is only one man, but he’s doing his best to pick up some of the slack.

Tumino, a minister, closed down his own restaurant six years ago to open In My Father’s Kitchen, a non-profit organization that feeds the homeless in Syracuse.

Two years ago, Tumino began selling his famous pasta sauce through Wegmans and other local stores in Central New York, with all of the profits going directly toward his efforts to feed the hungry.

Now, Tumino is trying to expand his business, so that his profits can increase, and therefore he can help more of the homeless.

“Obviously generating more revenue for our organization helps me do what we do,” Tumino said.  “It’s not just about us. It’s about us bringing awareness to the problem of homelessness, you know not just in Syracuse but there’s homeless in Rochester, homeless in Buffalo.”

Tumino’s sauce will be sold in Wegmans in Rochester to help increase his sales.

“We want to keep going wherever Wegmans goes if this thing works in Rochester,” Tumino said.

The ultimate goal for Tumino is to sell his sauce across the state, helping organizations statewide in the battle against homelessness.

For more information on Tumino and his sauce, check out InMyFathersKitchen.org.