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County Executive Steven Neuhaus packs backpacks with food for Newburgh Enlarged City School District students as part of Orange Cares program

Approximately 400 backpacks packed for Newburgh students

   Orange County Executive Steven M. Neuhaus packed backpacks with food on Thursday, November 17, 2016 at the St. Francis of Assisi Food Pantry for students in the Newburgh Enlarged City School District as part of the County’s Orange Cares program.

   Neuhaus was joined at the event by Orange County Legislator Chris Eachus, who taught physics in the NECSD for 40 years, Department of Social Services Deputy Commis-sioner Irene Kurlander, Director of Pupil Personnel Services for the Newburgh Enlarged City School District Ann Hall, and NECSD’s Homeless Liaison Bill Morgan. Betsy Dickson and Josette Ramnani represented the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York.

   “Childhood hunger is an important issue, but it takes on even more significance as we approach the holiday season,” Neuhaus said. “It was gratifying to pack backpacks at St. Fran-cis of Assisi and I enjoyed meeting with some of the food pantry’s volunteers. The Orange Cares program will continue to help address hunger issues that are impacting some of the most vulnerable in our communities.”

   Orange Cares has helped the Newburgh school district’s backpack program grow sig-nificantly since its inception. By the end of the school year, the district will be able to serve 560 students each week. The students are identified by the District Homeless Liaison Bill Morgan. Volunteers from St. Francis of Assisi’s Food Pantry, many who are retired teachers, pack and deliver the backpacks.

   “Orange Cares has enabled us to provide backpacks full of food every Friday of the school year to hundreds of children who otherwise might have little nutritious food to eat on weekends,” said Mark Quandt, Executive Director of the Regional Food Bank of Northeast-ern New York. “The program has helped increase attendance, performance, and decrease be-havioral problems for children who participate. They become better and more productive stu-dents. County Executive Steve Neuhaus and the Orange County Legislature deserve tremen-dous credit for recognizing the seriousness of childhood hunger and doing something about it.”

   Neuhaus and Orange County Commissioner of Social Services Darcie Miller an-nounced a partnership last September with the Food Bank of the Hudson Valley to assist chil-dren in Orange County who are considered food insecure through the Orange Cares initiative. Orange County invested $375,000 into Orange Cares to jumpstart this important program. Childhood food insecurity refers to the percentage of children under 18 living in households that experience limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate and safe foods at some point during the year. Approximately 10.2 percent of Orange County’s population (38,230 residents) is classified as food insecure.

   “I want to thank Orange County Executive Steven Neuhaus and the Food Bank of the Hudson Valley for starting this vital program in our community,” said Dr. Roberto Padilla, the Newburgh Enlarged City School District’s Superintendent of Schools. “In the Hudson Valley, and particularly here in Newburgh, food insecurity is an important issue we face as educa-tors. In order to have healthy minds, our scholars must first have healthy bodies and that starts with proper nutrition. We are grateful to be part of the Orange Cares program and would like to extend our sincerest appreciation to our County Executive, the Food Bank of the Hudson Valley, and the volunteers at the St. Francis Food Pantry who make this program a success each week.”

   If you are a school interested in the Orange Cares program, please contact the Food Bank of the Hudson Valley at

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