FIGHTING MORE THAN COVID-19: UNMASKING THE STATE OF HUNGER IN NYC DURING A PANDEMIC
June 2020 – As New York City continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing economic shutdown, another crisis has unfolded: New Yorkers struggling to put food on the table for themselves and their families. More than 500,000 New Yorkers are facing unemployment, and are forced to make impossible choices between rent, utilities, medications, and food – while others face medical risks that require them to stay home and prevent them from acquiring groceries. Nearly three-quarters (74 percent) of food pantries and soup kitchens have reported an increase in the overall number of visitors compared to the previous year. In this context of existing hunger in NYC, compounded by the economic pressures created by the pandemic, a number of food pantries and soup kitchens have been forced to close. This report offers special insight on how food insecurity has changed citywide as a result of COVID-19, especially in communities hit hardest by closures of local emergency food providers.