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BANK ON IT: Food Bank For New York City's Blog

11 Million Emergency Meals Already Lost Due to Federal Cuts!

Help Save Critical Food Assistance In NYC

by Triada Stampas

Federal spending cuts have slashed the single biggest source of emergency food in New York City. This year alone, food pantries and soup kitchens across the five boroughs lost a staggering 11 million meals, depriving those residents in most desperate need. The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) has been the mainstay of New York City’s emergency food network, constituting nearly half of the food that is distributed to low-income New Yorkers in past years. Food pantries and soup kitchens have told us they used to plan their meals around the food available in TEFAP; right now, their shelves are nearly bare.

Facing a shortfall of 11 million meals, emergency food providers are being forced to stretch resources and reduce services at a time of unprecedented need.
Nearly 3 million New York City residents have difficulty affording food. Households with children, the unemployed and low-income New Yorkers are struggling the most. Those 11 million meals could have gone to children, seniors and others in need – instead, food pantries and soup kitchens are coping with unprecedented need while their main source of food has dwindled.

Emergency food cuts have stricken communities in all five boroughs, with losses averaging 37 percent.

  • Bronx: 2.2 million meals lost
  • Brooklyn: 3.8 million meals lost
  • Manhattan: 1.4 million meals lost
  • Queens: 3.0 million meals lost
  • Staten Island: 0.4 million meals lost

You can help. There are two things you can do to help us out of this crisis:

Advocate. The Farm Bill, our nation’s key anti-hunger legislation, is up for renewal this year. Critical food resources like TEFAP and the food stamp program (SNAP) are at stake. Contact your representatives in Washington and tell them to help keep food on the table for our neighbors in need.

Donate. The long-term relief needed from the Farm Bill will take months or longer to materialize. Your donations will provide immediate help for those at risk of going hungry.

Triada Stampas works to inform government officials, policy makers and the general public about the needs of the city’s network of emergency food organizations and the more than 1.3 million people who rely on them; and to advance public policy that meets those needs.

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