Food Bank For NYC Talks Looming Hunger Crisis Due To Shutdown From Harlem To Hollis

February 5, 2019

Today, Food Bank For New York City put out a new report on the state of the emergency food network in New York City and the impact of the shutdown on New Yorkers experiencing food insecurity.

Margarette Purvis, President & CEO of Food Bank For New York City, said, “While the government shutdown may be over, the worst is yet to come for the many New Yorkers who rely on SNAP to help put food on the table every day. These benefits were issued two weeks early for most City recipients, creating a SNAP Gap, where recipients have to stretch their benefits over a much longer six-week time period. The significant lapse between SNAP disbursements presents an unanticipated financial hurdle and disruption for those already dealing with food insecurity and will place additional strain on emergency food providers across the five boroughs.”

Key Findings:

  • 1.6 million low-income New Yorkers who rely on SNAP received their February benefits early, in mid-January.
  • Current average SNAP benefits cover about 2 weeks’ worth of food for most households.
  • Early SNAP disbursement will result in a “SNAP Gap” for recipients who have to stretch this early disbursement over a much longer four- to a six-week time period.
  • For every one furloughed federal New Yorker, there are 90 SNAP recipients who will be impacted by the “SNAP Gap” in NYC.
  • 1 month of SNAP benefits provides more meals to New Yorkers than Food Bank’s entire annual food distribution.
  • In the Bronx, 1 in 3 residents relies on SNAP, in Brooklyn 1 in 4 rely on SNAP, and in Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island, 1 in 7 relies on SNAP.
  • The emergency food network is already stretched, meaning February will be a present a serious challenge.

Food Bank compiled the report using survey data collected from the network of soup kitchens, food pantries and other charities in New York City. The survey was conducted during the first weeks of January 2019.

The full report, In the Shadow of the Shutdown: NYC’s Food Pantries and Soup Kitchens Rise Up to Serve on Razor-Thin Margin, is available here.

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