Food Bank Statement on Government Shutdown

Media Contact:
Food Bank Media Relations

Statement from Food Bank For New York City President & CEO Margarette Purvis:

The government shutdown has already meant thousands of federal workers and contractors remain unpaid, disrupting the lives and tightening the daily household budgets of many who are living paycheck-to-paycheck, and could have a tremendous, damaging ripple effect on vulnerable, low-income families who rely on food assistance programs like SNAP, WIC, and TEFAP (commodities). While the federal government has assured us that some of these critical survival resources will be fully funded through the end of February, New York City’s emergency food network cannot meet the surge in need that will result if the shutdown continues and funding for SNAP and other essential programs runs out.

To put the capacities of these safety nets and the levels of need they are equipped to handle into broader context, SNAP is our first line of defense against hunger, providing the same number of meals in 10 weeks as the entire emergency food network provides in a full calendar year. With 1.6 million New York City residents relying on SNAP, the heroic efforts of our city’s food pantries and soup kitchens will not be enough to feed every New Yorker who rely on this program.

We are working closely with government agencies to better understand the implications if the shutdown lasts into February and urge all New Yorkers to contact their elected officials and let them know that the city’s emergency food network cannot bear the brunt of political gridlock.



About Food Bank For New York City:

Food Bank For New York City has been the city’s major hunger-relief organization working to end hunger throughout the five boroughs for 35 years. Nearly one in five New Yorkers relies on Food Bank for food and other resources. Food Bank takes a strategic, multifaceted approach that provides meals and builds capacity in the neediest communities, while raising awareness and engagement among all New Yorkers. Through its network of more than 1,000 charities and schools citywide, Food Bank provides food for more than 62.5 million free meals for New Yorkers in need. Food Bank For New York City’s income support services, including food stamps (also known as SNAP) and free tax assistance for the working poor, put more than $150 million each year into the pockets of New Yorkers, helping them to afford food and achieve greater dignity and independence. In addition, Food Bank’s nutrition education programs and services empower more than 50,000 children, teens and adults to sustain a healthy diet on a low budget. To learn more about how you can help, please visit Follow us on Facebook (FoodBank4NYC), Twitter (@FoodBank4NYC) and Instagram (FoodBank4NYC).

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