In New York City, one of the richest cities in the world, food poverty is around every corner. Throughout the five boroughs, approximately 1.4 million people rely on soup kitchens, food pantries, senior citizen centers and after-school programs for food. Since 2003, the number of New Yorkers experiencing difficulty affording food for themselves and their families has increased by an astounding 60 percent to approximately 3.3 million.
Food poverty in New York City is facing many who are experiencing difficulty affording or accessing nutritional food. Low-income New Yorkers often find themselves making choices between providing food for themselves and their families or paying the month’s rent or utility bills. With the downturn in the economy, difficulty affording groceries among New Yorkers with already stretched budgets has reached crisis levels. The pressure is not only facing low-income households, but is also being felt by middle-income New Yorkers who may have lost their jobs.
Founded in 1983, the Food Bank for New York City is addressing the growing numbers of those in need of food assistance and ShopRite Partners In Caring, a longstanding supporter of the Food Bank, helps them carry out the organization’s mission of fighting hunger.
Currently reaching approximately 1.5 million people annually through its programs and services, the Food Bank helps provide 300,000 free meals a day for New York City residents in need. Relying on volunteers to keep its programs running, the Food Bank is thankful for the 14,000 volunteers who donated more than 75,000 hours of their time last year.
Dr. Lucy Cabrera, who joined the Food Bank as President and CEO in 1988, has experienced many challenges over the years, such as the recent dramatic growth in demand for the Food Bank’s services due to economic circumstances, including high unemployment. With the face of hunger changing, 93 percent of the Food Bank’s network of soup kitchens and food pantries have seen an increase in first-time visitors.
Dr. Cabrera and the Food Bank realized years ago that they needed to expand beyond providing meals for the city’s hungry and rally New York City’s citizens, government, media and corporations behind a common cause to raise awareness of food poverty in New York City. Today, guided by its research, the Food Bank fights hunger on three fronts — emergency food distribution, income support and nutrition education — through a broad range of programs:
The Food Bank is the major supplier of food to its network of approximately 1,000 food assistance programs, procuring, storing and distributing more than 60 million of pounds of food a year, including more than 13 million pounds of fresh produce.
The Food Bank connects eligible New Yorkers with income support services, including food stamps and free tax assistance for the working poor, putting millions of dollars in the pockets of low-income New Yorkers.
CookShop, the Food Bank’s nutrition education program, has doubled its reach in the past two years and reaches more than 15,000 children, teens and adults in public schools and after-school programs.
Over the years, ShopRite has sponsored many Food Bank campaigns and initiatives, including Shop to End Hunger and Check Out Hunger. In addition, ShopRite has been a sponsor of the Food Bank’s Annual Agency Conference, the Food Network New York City Wine & Food Festival and the Food Bank’s Can-Do Awards Dinner, where ShopRite was recently honored for their commitment to hunger relief. The partnership has made an enormous difference for food pantries and soup kitchens all over the city, as well as hungry families and individuals throughout the five boroughs.
For more information about the Food Bank For New York City or to get involved, you can visit http://www.foodbanknyc.org.