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New York Jets' Bart Scott Tackles Hunger this Holiday Season with Food Bank For New York City
~ Scott to Unload Turkeys and All the Fixings At Brooklyn Soup Kitchen And Serve Meal To 400 New Yorkers In Need~
40% of New Yorkers Having Difficulty Affording Food…93% of Food Pantries and Soup Kitchens Experiencing an Increase in First-Time Visitors
New York, NY, November 24, 2009 — New York Jets linebacker, Bart Scott, has teamed up with the Food Bank For New York City to tackle hunger this holiday season. Early this morning, the Jets Number 57, touched down at “CHIPS” Park Slope Christian Help, 200 4th Avenue (Corner of Sackette Street) in Brooklyn, to unload 100+ turkeys and all the fixings and serve a pre-Thanksgiving meal to 400 New Yorkers in need.
CHIPS — an emergency food assistance site in the Food Bank’s network — serves approximately
8,000 people monthly through their soup kitchen and pantry. Today, one in five New Yorkers relies on the Food Bank For New York City to eat. During the holiday season, the Food Bank will provide more than 12,000 free turkeys and chicken roasters to New Yorkers in need.
Since 2003, there has been a 60% increase in the number of people reporting having difficulty affording food from 2 million to 3.3 million.
In 2009, 42 percent of Brooklyn residents experienced difficulty affording needed food throughout the year, up from 24 percent in 2003 (a 75 percent increase) and up from 39 percent in 2007 (an 8 percent increase). The 2009 figure represents a decrease from a record high of 51 percent in 2008. (NYC Hunger Experience 2009). Among the 1.3 million people in NYC who receive emergency food, approximately 509,000 are Brooklyn residents. (Hunger Safety Net 2007)
As the long-term impact of the recession deepens and unemployment – now at a 26-year high of 10.3 percent – continues to escalate, the Food Bank is experiencing an unprecedented increase in the demand for services.
“I’m thankful that I am in a position to give. Off the football field I try to do my part to support fans and New Yorkers that support us tirelessly no matter what their circumstances are,” said New York Jets linebacker, Bart Scott. “I’m happy that I can be here to help families in need and let them know that there are people who care about them.”
“We are very grateful to Bart Scott for his support and for helping to bring much needed visibility to the pervasive issue of hunger in New York City, especially in these troubled times,” said Lucy Cabrera, Ph.D., President and CEO of the Food Bank For New York City.
“Over the past year, 90 percent of emergency food organizations like CHIPS have seen more New Yorkers turning to them for help. The holidays are always a challenging time for our network, but even more so this year. While we are deeply concerned about what we see on the horizon in the coming year, with partners like Bart Scott, we know we will be here to help.”
“We are happy and grateful to receive this wonderful donation of turkeys from the Food Bank For New York, especially this year when the economic crisis has forced more people into food poverty,” said Sister Mary Margaret Maloney, Executive Director of CHIPS. “And we are delighted that Bart Scott has given so generously of his time to feed our brothers and sisters who are hungry, and many of whom are homeless. His celebrity brings attention to a problem that desperately needs it.”
Presently, 1.5 million New Yorkers rely on the Food Bank’s programs and services.
Among the Food Bank’s network of 1,000 food assistance programs, 93% of food pantries and soup kitchens have seen an increase in the number of first-time visitors. Over half have seen demand grow by 25% or more. This increased demand for emergency food is happening at a time when public and private donations of food and funds are substantially reduced.
- Foundation giving—which accounts for 48 percent of the Food Bank’s private fundraising—is expected to decrease in the coming year as a result of the downturn in the stock market in 2008, and its impact on foundation endowments. In the first quarter of FY09, the Food Bank had already seen foundation giving drop by 12.5 percent.
As unemployment continues to rise, the face of food poverty in New York City is changing.
- 3.7 million New Yorkers report that they would not be able to afford food within three months of losing their income, according to the Food Bank’s research.
- Among The Food Bank’s network of 1,000 emergency food organizations, 87% of soup kitchens and food pantries report an increased number of recently unemployed visitors.
- The new face of hunger includes: the newly unemployed, the working poor, families with children, the elderly, and a generation aging into retirement, who lost savings in the economic collapse of 2008.
As the Food Bank struggles to meet the demand, soup kitchens and food pantries across the city have been forced to reduce services.
- Sites have reduced the amount of food distributed per person or household; turned individuals away for lack of food or resources; and reduced the number of days or hours of food distribution.
And because jobs are slow to return, the Food Bank expects these trends to continue through 2010. It is times like these that the Food Bank will continue to rely on programs that have successfully addressed food poverty throughout New York City. Their core strengths—food procurement, warehousing and a citywide distribution network will enable them to continue to bridge the gap between economic crisis and financial stability for struggling individuals and families in all five boroughs. The Food Bank’s Free Tax Preparation Assistance & Food Stamp Outreach programs are helping low-income families to secure financial stability and more permanent access to food by connecting them with much-needed public benefits.
Childhood hunger is a high priority for the Food Bank. One in five children relies on soup kitchens and food pantries. The Food Bank recognizes the acute and long-term impact of childhood hunger and helps provide approximately 100,000 meals to children each day. Their CookShop program — the Food Bank’s nutrition education program for low-income children and families — reaches over 14,000 children in the public school system. CookShop training engages teachers to bring the program into their classrooms and teaches children about growing, eating and cooking with fresh, healthy food.
And just last week, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and the Food Bank launched an NYC Service initiative – “Adopt a Food Program” – to match groups of volunteers with food pantries and soup kitchens throughout the five boroughs to increase the effectiveness of these critical organizations and the number of New Yorkers in need served this year.
About the Food Bank For New York City
Food Bank For New York City recognizes 26 years as the city’s major hunger-relief organization working to end food poverty throughout the five boroughs. Through its citywide network of approximately 1,000 food assistance programs, the Food Bank helps provide 300,000 free meals a day to New Yorkers in need. The Food Bank further mobilizes its efforts through direct services, food stamp access, research and policy initiatives, nutrition education and free tax assistance for low-income New Yorkers. Every dollar donated to the Food Bank helps provide five meals to New Yorkers in need. Learn how you can help at foodbanknyc.org.