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800 Guests Enjoyed a Special Pre-Thanksgiving Dinner with all the Fixings at the Food Bank for NYC's Community Kitchen of West Harlem


1 In 5 New Yorkers Relies On The Food Bank Programs and services. 93% of Emergency Food Sites in NYC Are Experiencing An Increase In The Number Of Individuals Accessing Emergency Food For The First Time
 
New York, NY, November 24, 2010 — More than 800 guests, including men, woman and children, enjoyed a special pre-Thanksgiving dinner today with all the fixings at the Food Bank For New York Community Kitchen and Food Pantry of West Harlem, 252 West 116th Street, Harlem.  Joining the serving line were City Council Member Annabel Palma, Chair of the Committee on General Welfare, and Chef Madison Cowan, who was recently named the Food Network's first "Chopped" Grand Champion.

The Food Bank’s Community Kitchen & Pantry of West Harlem served approximately 520,000 meals last year.  During the holiday season, the Food Bank will provide more than 27,000 free turkeys and chicken roasters plus all of the traditional trimmings including stuffing, cranberry sauce, potatoes, onions, apples, carrots and more to New Yorker in need through its emergency food network.  Right now, 1.5 million New Yorkers rely on the Food Bank's programs and services, and 93 percent of soup kitchens and food pantries are seeing an increase in first-time visitors.  As the long-term impact of the recession deepens and unemployment continues to devastate New York families, the Food Bank is experiencing an unprecedented increase in demand for food and services.  Since 2003, there has been a 60 percent increase in the number of people reporting having difficulty affording food, or 3.3 million.

"The holidays can be an especially difficult time for New Yorkers who are struggling to put food on the table. Right now, 40 percent of New Yorkers are having difficulty affording food for themselves and their families. That's an astounding number," said Lucy Cabrera, Ph.D., President and CEO of the Food Bank For New York City.  "We're hoping that all New Yorkers who can, will help us help the 1.5 million New Yorkers who are relying on the Food Bank's program and services to make ends meet."

"As we approach the holiday season, it is more important than ever to highlight organizations like the Food Bank which continue to work tirelessly ensuring that the one in five New Yorkers classified as 'food insecure' are able to meet their most basic needs," said General Welfare Chair Annabel Palma, "which is why I am honored to be joining the Food Bank today in serving over 800 traditional Thanksgiving meals in this time of need for City residents."

This month, the Food Bank launched a new broadcast, print and outdoor campaign that introduces the new faces of hunger, a representation of those New Yorkers who are suddenly forced to rely on food pantries and soup kitchens for the first time in their lives.

The message is simple:  Don’t Make Me Beg. For more than a million New Yorkers, hunger has become a reality.  They can’t afford food for both themselves and their children.  They are being forced to choose between paying rent and buying groceries.  In fact, one in five New York City residents will rely on the Food Bank’s programs and services this holiday season. As the city’s major provider of food and resources for low-income New Yorkers, the Food Bank is asking all New Yorkers to help us help them by participating in the Food Bank’s first-ever "Text-to-Donate" campaign.  The Food Bank does more than serve meals.  We serve the people who need them. Please text FBNYC to 50555 to donate $10 to the Food Bank For New York City.  Don’t make them beg.

Here's another way that you can help through the MetLife Foundation's first-ever 2010 Thanksgiving Charity Program. The Foundation is donating $500,000 to selected charities (of which the Food Bank For New York City is one). NY Giants fans, NY Jets fans and the general public are encouraged to participate during Thanksgiving week. The program kicked off on November 21 and will run through November 28.  All New Yorkers have an opportunity to actively participate and make a real difference by helping to determine how this special half-million dollar gift will be shared among four charities including the Food Bank. Selections can be made online at www.MetLife.com/thanksgiving, where everyone can see which charities are available to choose from and read about the important work of each of the charities.

“In the spirit of Thanksgiving, when Americans gather with family and friends, MetLife Foundation asks the public to join us to support the fine work of these organizations,” said Dennis White, president & CEO of MetLife Foundation. “Not just New York football fans, but anyone can go online to find out how to participate, learn more about the charities and see how they will share the $500,000 donation.”
MetLife is a cornerstone sponsor of the New Meadowlands Stadium, and fans attending the New York Jets games on Sunday November 21st and Thanksgiving Day, and the New York Giants game on Sunday November 28th will be able to vote in person at the game, as they enter the stadium through the MetLife corner called “MetLife Central”.

Results of the voting, ending on the 28th, will be announced on Monday the 29th.  The charity getting the most votes will receive $175,000 from MetLife Foundation, the second-highest vote getter will receive $125,000, and the remaining two charities will each receive $100,000, which amounts are subject to change in the event of a tie between any of the charities. 
Please go to www.MetLife.com/thanksgiving and vote for the Food Bank For New York City!

About the Food Bank For New York City
Food Bank For New York City recognizes 27 years as the city’s major hunger-relief organization working to end food poverty throughout the five boroughs.  As the city’s hub for integrated food poverty assistance, the Food Bank tackles the hunger issue on three fronts — food distribution, income support and nutrition education — all strategically guided by its research. Through its network of approximately 1,000 community-based member programs citywide, the Food Bank helps provide 400,000 free meals a day for New Yorkers in need. The Food Bank’s hands-on nutrition education program in the public schools reaches thousands of children, teens and adults. Income support services including food stamps, free tax assistance for the working poor and the Earned Income Tax Credit put millions of dollars back in the pockets of low-income New Yorkers, helping them to achieve greater dignity and independence. Learn how you can help at foodbanknyc.org.

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