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NYC food distribution sites say need continues to grow

At 7am, West Side Campaign Against Hunger staff and volunteers prepare food rations for the day. Due to the constant stream of people arriving, it takes him two hours to distribute, but the lines line the side of the building.

“It needs to be,” said Harlem resident Pat Parrilla, who was standing in line.

Parrilla is 70 years old and lives on a fixed income. She has been at this food pantry for about a year now.


What you need to know

  • September is hunger month
  • Many organizations in the city are working to end the hunger problem, but after two years of a pandemic and rising inflation, food distribution sites say the need is only growing.
  • City Harvest reports a 69% increase in visits to food pantries and soup kitchens compared to pre-pandemic.
  • According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ consumer price index for July, the cost of food rose 10.9%, while the cost of groceries rose 13.1%.

“The pandemic has taught me something. Mainly to live within my means, that’s what I can do, but what always gets me down is food,” said Parilla. rice field.

Food distribution centers in the city are seeing an increase in customers.

City Harvest reports a 69% increase in visits to food pantries and soup kitchens compared to pre-pandemic. The West Side Campaign Against Hunger, which serves approximately 75,000 people annually, has seen a 42% increase in foot traffic at this particular location on West 86th Street over the past few months.

“What we are seeing is a combination of skyrocketing food prices and skyrocketing energy prices, which means that prices for distributors and farmers are going up. is on the rise,” said Greg Silverman, CEO of West Side Campaign Against Hunger.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ consumer price index for July, the cost of food rose 10.9%, while the cost of groceries rose 13.1%.

“With inflation unlike anything we’ve seen in over 40 years, many of us have never experienced this kind of price volatility in our lifestyles,” said Steve Reed, a consumer economist. No,” he said. Price Index, Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Reed says the last time the country saw such an increase was in 1979.

“A lot of people are hoping for a slowdown soon, and the increase has slowed a bit, but it hasn’t really gotten to the point where food prices are coming back,” he continued.

In the past few months, such distribution centers say they have noticed an increasing number of new immigrants in need of resources due to the constant flow of immigrants bussed in from Texas.

“There is an influx of families across the border, especially from Central America. Many of these families are crossing the border into states like New York where there are many programs and opportunities for assistance,” said Diana Tamacus. said. Coordinator of the West Side Campaign Against Hunger.

Parrilla and other patrons said they hoped for more action from city leaders.

“I don’t know if it’s policy or ignorance, but it makes me uncomfortable to know that there’s not a wide variety of places and spaces that people go to,” Parrilla said.

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