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Sandra in service

As “first girlfriend” of newly sworn-in Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Sandra Lee has vowed to use her platform to help New Yorkers who can’t afford food.

As “first girlfriend” of newly sworn-in Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Sandra Lee has vowed to use her platform to help New Yorkers who can’t afford food.

Lee has been highly successful with her Food Network show and cookbooks, but the domestic goddess grew up in poverty — and was forced to rely on food stamps to feed herself and her younger siblings.

“We were on welfare checks and food stamps,” Lee told Metro in a 2010 interview before Cuomo was elected governor.

“Today it’s not as embarrassing — there’s a credit card; it wasn’t like peeling stamps out of a little book. It was embarrassing, and made you self-conscious.

“It made me more thoughtful,” she added. “It made me more understanding of other people and how they feel.”

Many Americans, Lee continued, “at some point in their lives will be on welfare and food stamps. ... So that’s a huge amount of us.”

In her new capacity, she’s focused on food security for children and hot-lunch programs, among other projects.

Lee has hit the road this month to visit 10 of the most active food banks in the state. Yesterday, she visited food banks in Albany and Syracuse to deliver $10,000 donations from Sam’s Club; today she will visit ones in Rochester and Buffalo to do the same. In the next few weeks, Lee will visit a food bank in Manhattan.

Gov. Cuomo, meanwhile, will deliver his State of the State address tomorrow in the Empire State Plaza Convention Center in Albany.

 
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