Advocates and lawmakers from both parties gathered at the New York state Capitol Wednesday to push for more funding to fight food insecurity.

They're calling for increased funding for several programs designed to make it easier for New Yorkers in need to access healthy meals.

“There should be no shame in needing help, having a program to supplement your grocery bill doesn’t signify and sense of failure,” said Whitley Hasty, benefits navigation coordinator at Foodlink in Rochester.

She says she came to the state Capitol Wednesday to ensure that New Yorkers who need help are able to get it.

“We need to continue to support funding for those programs so we can continue to make a huge impact on our community,” she said.

Hasty, along with other advocates, teamed up with lawmakers to push for an increase in SNAP benefits, increased funding for Nourish New York and the Hunger Prevention and Nutrition Assistance Program, as well as funding for healthy school meals for all New York kids.

They are also seeking $5 million to fund the Nutrition Outreach and Education Program, which is intended to insure that people are aware of the programs that are available to them.

State Assemblymember Jessica González-Rojas says the reduction in SNAP benefits since the pandemic means an increase is essential.

“Benefits went down to $23 a month," she said. “In terms of food, I know there is very little in my community that you can buy on $23 a month.”

It comes at a time when Assemblymember Angelo Santabarbara says spikes in food prices mean more and more families are finding themselves in need of assistance.

“These are people in these lines that have jobs, have employment, they just can’t make ends meet by the time rent is paid, by the time expenses are paid, there is no more money left for food,” he said.

Pledging support along with Assemblymembers Michael Durst and Brian Maher, Assemblymember Matt Slater says it's an issue that is bringing together lawmakers from across the aisle.

“I am here to prove that the issue of combatting hunger has bipartisan support,” he said. “I have committed myself to be a voice on this issue, supporting universal school meals supporting increasing SNAP.”

A collaboration that Hasty says she is here to say makes a difference.

“I’ve used pantries before, I’ve used SNAP, WIC has been an extraordinary program that has helped me feed and focus on nutrition for my family,” she said.