New Food Bank Hunger Data From Hollis To Harlem – We Have Urgent Need!

Food Bank For New York City (Food Bank) today released an analysis of the state of hunger in NYC based on feedback directly from the soup kitchens and food pantries fighting food insecurity on the front lines.

The snapshot, released at Food Bank’s annual legislative breakfast, showed there is greater demand concentrated on food pantries and soup kitchens in NYC. Emergency food providers reported seeing longer lines with more first-time visitors, senior citizens, and families with children.


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“This snapshot describes what we’re seeing right now on the front lines and comes directly from the men and women most intimately involved in ending hunger across the five boroughs,” said Food Bank For New York City President and CEO Margarette Purvis. “Our survey’s findings make it clear that in the 35th year of the city’s emergency food network, the perceived profile of reach and capacity of the neighborhood soup kitchens has completely changed. The majority of soup kitchens and pantries are forced to punch above their weight class, serving in most cases at least two boroughs outside of their own. It is the greatest indicator of growing need in our city and a requirement for families to try harder to make ends meet.”

Central Harlem – 5,810,190 meals missing

Key Findings

  • Nearly 80% of food pantries and soup kitchens across NYC have seen elevated traffic over the last five years, since funding for SNAP was cut.
  • More than half (54%) of soup kitchens and pantries reported running out of food and 29% reported turning people away because of lack of food.
  • Of those, nearly 40% of food pantries and soup kitchens reported the number of visitors increased by more than half.
  • Meanwhile the average cost of a meal is increasing – up 27% across all borough and 46% in Manhattan alone.
  • The network has seen a 63% increase in the number of seniors and a 62% increase in the number of families with children.
  • Nearly half of all soup kitchens and food pantries have an operating budget of under $25,000 a year and more than half operate with non-paid staff.

Meal Gap Stats

Boroughs ranked by meal gap:

  1. Brooklyn: 80,885,000 missing meals
  2. Queens: 42,892,000 meals missing
  3. Bronx: 39, 025,800 meals missing
  4. Manhattan: 37,025,800 meals missing
  5. Staten Island: 7,315,300 meals missing

Community districts in each borough with the highest meal gap, ranked in order:

  1. Queens: Jamaica Hollis and St. Albans – 7,898,599 meals missing
  2. Brooklyn: Canarsie and Flatlands – 6,479,218 meals missing
  3. Bronx: Belmont, Crotona Park East and East Tremon – 5,906,761 meals missing
  4. Manhattan: Central Harlem – 5,810,190 meals missing
  5. Staten Island: Port Richmond, Stapleton and Mariner’s Harbor – 3,629,463 meals missing

Food Bank surveyed 735 leaders from soup kitchens and food pantries from across the city between October 6 and October 29, 2018. Food Bank calculates the meal gap based on the most recent publicly available data on food insecurity from the United States Department of Agriculture.

Food Bank supplies food for more than 62.5 million meals every year, but also connects eligible New Yorkers to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps.

To learn more about how you can help, please visit foodbanknyc.org. Follow us on Facebook (FoodBank4NYC), Twitter (@FoodBank4NYC).

Photo credit: Via Food Bank.

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Harlem World Magazine is the #1 source in the world for living your best life and style in Harlem in 2003.

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