Food Bank For New York City Releases Alarming New Report on Status of New York City’s Network of Emergency Food Organizations
Lana Gersten, 212-784-5714
Carol Schneider 212-566-7855, ext. 2231
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 19, 2012
FOOD BANK FOR NEW YORK CITY RELEASEs ALARMING new report on status of New York City’s network of emergency food organizations
~In the Wake of Hurricane Sandy, Food Pantries and Soup Kitchens Stretched Already Thin Resources to Meet Increased Need~
New York, NY – November 19, 2012 – The Food Bank For New York City, the city’s major hunger-relief organization working to end food poverty throughout the five boroughs, today released Serving Under Stress Post-Recession: The State of Food Pantries & Soup Kitchens Today, a report comparing today’s network of emergency food organizations in New York City to the same network in 2007, before the Great Recession began. Findings show that though many emergency food organizations rose to the challenge of providing critical food and assistance in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, they are part of a network that has significantly shrunk over five years as a result of the Great Recession and a stagnant recovery.
The report was released today by the Food Bank For New York City at its Legislative Breakfast, where members of the City’s hunger-relief community and key political leaders addressed solutions for ending food poverty and discussed the public policy implications for sustaining a hunger safety net in the wake of Hurricane Sandy and beyond.
"Our City’s network of emergency food organizations, the last line of hope for 1.4 million New Yorkers, has stretched its resources to the limit to provide for an increasing need while operating under tighter budgets,” said Margarette Purvis, President and CEO of the Food Bank For New York City. “The impact of Hurricane Sandy has brought out the best of our food pantries and soup kitchens but has also refocused attention on how vulnerable our hunger safety net has become in recent years."
The City’s network of emergency food organizations, in conjunction with support from Food Bank For New York City, continued to provide critical food and water to those affected by Hurricane Sandy in the wake of its destruction. Since the hurricane hit, food pantries and soup kitchens have continued to serve hungry families directly, providing emergency food supplies across the five boroughs, including in the hardest hit areas in Far Rockaway, Coney Island, Redhook, Staten Island and Lower Manhattan.
But since 2007, the size of the City’s emergency food network has shrunk by 25 percent, forcing food pantries and soup kitchens to stretch their resources in order to cope with an increase in demand as a result of the Great Recession. More than three-quarters of food pantries and soup kitchens reported that the number of New Yorkers coming to them for relief increased over the previous 12 months, forcing many food pantries and soup kitchens to turn away hungry New Yorkers due to food shortages.
According to the report, 63 percent of food pantries and soup kitchens reported they have run out of food to produce adequate pantry bags or nutritious meals at some point during the previous 12 months, up from 40 percent in 2007. Additionally, while the number of food pantries and soup kitchens reporting they turned participants away has remained similar to 2007 levels, 83 percent reported in 2012 that a lack of food is the main cause compared to 70 percent in 2007.
This new data underlines the need for our leaders in Congress to safeguard vital nutrition assistance programs, like the Food Stamp Program, our nation’s first line of defense against hunger. With their budget stretched to the limit, the city’s network of emergency food organizations cannot afford potential cuts from Congress as they debate the upcoming 2012 Farm Bill reauthorization. Cuts to food stamps or other anti-hunger programs could result in a substantial increase in the percentage of New York City residents reporting difficulty affording food and increased pressure on the emergency food programs that are the last line to help households struggling with putting food on the table.
About the Food Bank For New York City
Food Bank For New York City recognizes 29 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.
NOTE: For a copy of the report, contact Carol Schneider at firstname.lastname@example.org or 212-566-7855, ext. 2231 or Lana Gersten at LGersten@GroupGordon.com or 212-784-5714