A report released by the Food Bank for New York City on Monday found more than half of its pantries and soup kitchens do not have a sufficient amount of food to serve residents, with 35 percent of food banks forced to turn away those in need, when looking at data from September. The city has also seen an uptick in the number of New Yorkers who require the food bank’s services, now serving about one out of every five people citywide. According to amNY, throughout the five boroughs, the food banks have been used by more residents than normal, following a cut to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), food stamps, in 2013. According to the report, New York City’s food-insecurity rate is 21 percent higher than the national average and 19 percent higher than the rate of the rest of the state.
According to Swami Durga Das, who runs a food pantry called The River Fund in Richmond, Queens, supplies have dramatically dropped. River Fund typically receives roughly 90,000 pounds of food every week for the 800 families it serves, mostly relying on donations. Over the last several months, only about 50,000 pounds came in. “Securing the food is really becoming harder and harder,” Durga Das told amNY. “Right now we’re still kind of just about hanging in there with it, meeting the poundage, but we have actually in the last six months seen a decline in food.”
The report also detailed which neighborhoods in the city are considered the most food-insecure, which means there is a limited availability or access to food, especially foods that are nutritious. Brooklyn has the highest rate with nearly 19 percent of its population experiencing food-insecurity, and the Bronx following in second with 16 percent of residents.
If you’re looking to get even more involved and help out fellow New Yorkers, check out 6sqft’s round-up of places to volunteer in NYC during the holiday season and beyond, including organizations like Meals on Wheels, City Harvest and Coalition for the Homeless.