Thursday, February 23, 2006

1 in 5 NYC children in food insecure households

One in five New York City children live in food insecure households, according to New York City Coalition Against Hunger data reported in Spanish-language Hoy. Over 400,000 children in the city live in households where at least one member is going hungry or faces insufficient access to sufficient, nutritious food. And in a Feb. 19 column for the Daily News, Albor Ruiz called on city leaders to gain the political will to put an end to hunger in the country's richest city.

Said Joel Berg, executive director of the Coalition Against Hunger: "When every fifth child in New York City lives in a home that doesn't have enough food, it is clear that New York City is facing a hunger crisis. You could fill Yankee Stadium more than seven times with these children. Such numbers should be a wakeup call for government leaders, business executives and average residents alike."

Brooklyn has few healthy choices

A new study by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene shows that Central and Northern Brooklyn residents lack access to adequately healthy food options. Bodegas are the dominant form of grocery vendor, and few bodegas offer green leafy vegetables and other important components of a balanced diet. Restaurants offering high-fat foods like pizza and Chinese food are also dominant.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Mayor steamed by officers' need for food stamps

Officials including Mayor Michael Bloomberg are upset because recently lowered wages for city police officers have prompted some new recruits to apply for food stamps. It appears unlikely that any officers would actually qualify for food stamps.

Even as officials justifiably decry the low wages of police officers, over 1 million other New Yorkers--the majority of whom work long hours like these officers--receive food stamps. An estimated 500,000 to 700,000 New Yorkers qualify due to low wages but do not receive food stamps, often deterred by the difficulty of wrangling with bureaucratic red tape. (Photo courtesy

Friday, February 10, 2006

Got whole milk? Nope

The New York City school system, in a move designed to increase nutritional standards and child health, has moved from providing whole milk to exclusively offering skim and 1 percent varieties. Among flavored milks, only chocolate skim milk will remain. (Photo courtesy USDA.)

The personal side of food stamps access problems

For all the public handwringing and political talk about food stamps access problems and the need to fix the system, the personal frustrations of food stamps applicants are often overlooked. But in hearing personal stories, a consistent thread resounds: navigating a mountain of red tape to feed one’s family “sucks.”

Asking the press to ask about welfare

Joel Berg, executive director of the New York City Coalition Against Hunger, has some questions for the news media to ask about welfare reform. Among them: “Given that poverty, inequality of wealth, hunger, and food insecurity have all increased over the last four years, was welfare reform at least partly to blame for some or all of these increases? Will the further tightening of benefits under the [FY 2006] reconcilliation bill further increase poverty, inequality of wealth, hunger, and food insecurity in America?”

Hunts Point mall stores to allow food stamps

The City Council approved a mall to replace the Bronx Terminal Market at Hunts Point, but not before ensuring that any stores accept food stamps and other food subsidies like those of the Women, Infants and Children program. BJ’s, a wholesale food club almost certain to be a flagship tenant, does not generally accept food stamps but will at the Hunts Point mall. Councilman Hiram Monserrate was among those who pushed for food stamps and WIC, and the guarantee of those programs struck many observers as decent and sensible.