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The New York Jets Join Food Bank to 'Tackle' Holiday Hunger as Food Insecurity Surges Statewide 11 Percent

Jets Unload 100 Turkeys at Soup Kitchen and Serve Meal to 300 New Yorkers in Need

NEW YORK, NY, November 21, 2006 — To help ‘tackle' hunger this holiday season, New York Jets players — Tim Dwight, Matt Chatham, Brad Kassell, James Hodgins, Cody Spencer — joined the Food Bank For New York City to deliver and unload 100 turkeys plus fixings and serve a holiday meal to 300 New Yorkers in need at Neighbors Together Soup Kitchen, 2094 Fulton Street in the Brownsville Section of Brooklyn. The event is part of Thanksgiving for Five - the Food Bank's borough-wide campaign to distribute more than 10,600 turkeys to community food programs including food pantries and soup kitchens serving New Yorker's in need this Thanksgiving.

This holiday season there are two million people in New York City at risk of going hungry, and half of those individuals are turning to emergency food assistance programs, including soup kitchens and food pantries. Of those people who are accessing emergency food assistance, most are women with children, the elderly, the disabled and the working poor.

Thanksgiving for Five kicks off at a time when even more families throughout New York State are struggling to put food on the table. According to a new report released by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) — Household Food Security in the United States — more than 35 million Americans, including more than 12 million children, are living on the brink of hunger. While the national figures show a decrease in the number of households experiencing difficulty, the same is not true for New York State. In New York State, food insecurity has increased from 9.4 percent in 2004 to 10.4 percent in 2005. Further analysis conducted by the Food Bank for New York City shows that this increase of 75,429 households represents up to 200,000 people — a rate of increase of 11 percent.

"The holiday season is always an especially challenging time for the Food Bank and our network of programs. The report from the USDA compounds that challenge," says Food Bank President and CEO, Dr. Lucy Cabrera. "More than one third of the Food Bank's fundraising takes place in October through December 31st. While we help provide the food for over a quarter million New Yorkers every day throughout the entire year, much of our funds enabling us to do what we do comes in around the fall and winter holidays. We are especially thankful to the New York Jets for assisting us today at Neighbors Together Soup Kitchen and helping us focus attention on the pervasive issue of hunger in New York City."

"The New York Jets are committed to giving back to our community and helping to eradicate hunger," said New York Jets President Jay Cross. "The holiday season is a particularly important time to help others in need and we are proud to partner with the Food Bank For New York City to provide these Thanksgiving meals. I want to thank our players for using their day off to help those less fortunate.

Most of the turkeys that will be disturbed during the Thanksgiving holiday are purchased in the spring at wholesale prices and stored in the Food Bank's 100,000 square foot warehouse in Hunts Point in the Bronx. In addition to turkeys, the Food Bank provides programs with holiday accompaniments including fresh produce such as apples, potatoes and carrots.

While emergency food programs (EFPs) struggle to provide temporary relief to New Yorkers in need, government funding levels for emergency food have been flat-funded or have suffered cuts over the last decade. Simultaneously, there is an urgent need to enroll more eligible New Yorkers in government nutrition assistance programs (such as the Food Stamp Program and the Child Nutrition Assistance Programs).

As the major distributor of food to more than 1,200 community food programs throughout the five boroughs, the Food Bank helps provide the food for more than 250,000 meals served every day. If the Food Bank is unable to meet its fundraising goal, it could potentially result in cuts to food distribution and education services for its network of more than 1,200 community food programs.

About 70 percent of the food that these programs receive is from the Food Bank. Meanwhile most of the resources that enable these food programs to build capacity and improve services for their communities emerge from our organization. Ninety-six cents of every dollar donated to the Food Bank goes toward food and program services, and the Food Bank is able to convert a dollar into five meals.

Last year, the Food Bank distributed more than 67 million pounds of food and was recognized as the 2004/05 Food Bank of the Year by America's Second Harvest, The Nation's Food Bank Network. There are many ways to help the Food Bank this holiday season. You can make a financial contribution, coordinate a food drive or Virtual food drive or volunteer. To learn more, log on to our website


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