Friday, July 27, 2007

Yet One More Reason to Eat Ice Cream!

Alphabet Scoop, an East Village ice cream shop organized by Father's Heart Ministries, not only doles out delicious scoops of homemade ice cream, it also benefits the at-risk local youth who work at the shop and learn about work ethic and saving money. Recently covered in Time Out New York Kids, the program was conceived in 2003 and focussed in on at-risk teens two years ago - Father's Heart Ministries also runs a soup kitchen, an after-school program, and a job readiness program. Teaching young people work ethic and how to hold down a steady job is a vital step in helping families move out of poverty and into self sufficiency.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

NY Post Confused On Poverty

Today, the New York Post published an article - "NY Kids in Terrible Poverty" - covering the newly released Kids Count 2007 study, which found that one in 10 kids in the state of New York currently live in extreme poverty. This is an interesting contribution, as the NY Post just published an editorial last month that denounced Governor Eliot Spitzer's enhancements to the Food Stamp Program as welfare "trolling" and claimed that "no one of sound mind goes hungry in New York." (The ill-informed editorial was covered in a previous NYCCAH blog and Joel Berg, executive director of NYCCAH, responded to it with a countering letter to the editor - which went unpublished). The Food Stamp Program is one of the bulwarks against extreme poverty and helps families make the transition to self-sufficiency.

Maps Mania!

NYCCAH's free summer meals and farmer's markets maps were blogged by Google Maps Mania. Check them out!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

New Yorkers Hit Hard by Diabetes

A new study by the New York City Health Department shows an alarming 71% rise in deaths and hospitalizations from diabetes. The City death rate due to diabetes rose between 1990 and 2003, and during that time patients were hospitalized 80% more often than in the rest of the U.S. Black New York diabetics die at three times the rate of whites, while the Hispanic death rate rose 169% since 1990. In low-income neighborhoods, such as East Harlem, residents are hospitalized for diabetes at 10 times the rate of those from upscale neighborhoods, like the upper East Side. Diabetes is directly linked to obesity, and obesity is often extremely high in low income neighborhoods where there is lack of access to fresh, nutritious food. The city also has a lower average income than nationally. According to Dr. Shadi Chamany, the city Health Department's head of diabetes prevention and control, "That can be a risk factor if people are more likely to be overweight or obese and less physically active because they live in a particular neighborhood where they don't have access to resources."

Thursday, July 19, 2007

A Question for the Candidates

Today the Coalition Against Hunger submitted a question for the first-ever YouTube Presidential Debate. The Democratic debate, to be held online July 23rd, will feature only questions submitted by YouTube users to be answered by the all candidates.

Submit your own question about hunger and food policy in the U.S.!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Some Summer Meals Won't Last All Summer

Today Metro NYC reported that due to new guidelines for the implementation of the free Summer Meals program in NYC, several school sites will only be open for the duration of summer school, not all summer.

While these site closures may cause some confusion, there are many more sites in each neighborhood, from parks and pools to NYCHA housing projects. Find all the sites near you!


Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Summer Meals "Feed Multitudes," Reports Times

On the front page of the New York Times today, the Summer Meals Program in NYC was highlighted as one of the largest programs assisting low-income New Yorkers and their children during the summer months.

Joel Berg, Executive Director of the Coalition Against Hunger, was quoted as saying, "Not only will no single pantry or kitchen serve even in that ballpark, there is a good chance that even the combined 1,200 pantries and kitchens in New York City won’t serve much more for children over the summer."

Despite it's size and the fact that it is almost purely funded by the federal government, the Summer Meals Program has historically been drastically underutilized, mainly due to lack of awareness. Find a free summer meals site near you!

(New York Times, Newsday)

Speaker Quinn Bolsters Food Stamps at Farmers' Markets

This morning, Speaker of the New York City Council Christine Quinn paid a visit to the Bronx to highlight the use food stamps at the Poe Park Farmers' Market.

Through Quinn's efforts, the City Council agreed in this year's budget to increase the City's support of efforts like those at Poe Park to $295,200.

“We hail Speaker Quinn for building on the City's success in providing more neighborhoods with access to fresh food that is both nutritious and affordable,” said JC Dwyer, Director of Programs and National Service at the New York City Coalition Against Hunger. “These efforts will help more low-income New Yorkers avoid both hunger and obesity, as well as support small family farmers in our region. This is a quintessential ‘win-win’ situation for New York City.”

(1010 WINS, WNYC, Press Release)

Friday, July 06, 2007

Free Summer Meals Open For Business

The kick-off for this year's free summer meals program for children in NYC was covered in-depth by the WNBC News 4 team.

Free summer meals are available all summer to all children 18 and below at schools, housing projects, parks and pools. There is no paperwork, and no restrictions except age.

This program is particularly important for low-income families who rely on school meals during the rest of the year to help them make ends meet and provide their children with food that is nutritionally sound.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

NYCCAH Maps Highlighted in Today's Dietitian

The New York City Coalition Against Hunger's groundbreaking online maps of hunger resources, and a spin-off project based on the same Google Maps technology, were highlighted this week in the national magazine Today's Dietitian.

The article lauded the Coalition's maps of soup kitchens and food pantries as a resource for nutritionists and dieticians, as well as introduced, a free resource now available for anti-hunger organizations across the country.

Last week, NYCCAH also released its 2007 map of free Summer Meals Sites for children; a map of the city's 2007 Farmers' Markets is forthcoming.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

NYC Trans Fat Controversy

The city-wide trans fat ban and rule requiring fast food restaurants to post calorie information on menus have officially gone into effect - sort of. Chain restaurants, including McDonald's and Burger King, are resisting the calorie policy and seem to be waiting for a federal lawsuit to throw out the rule - the City also does not plan to issue any fines for violations until October 1.

The trans fat ban has created some controversy in the food industry as restaurants fear altered food and higher prices due to making the switch to more expensive, healthier oils. However, many restaurants have already been using healthy oils, like canola and peanut oils, and others are not finding any drastic differences in food quality with the switch. According to the Wall Street Journal, emergency food programs are also affected by the trans fat ban as Joel Berg, executive director of the New York City Coalition Against Hunger, says, "Logistics are an issue for other food servers. Volunteers at soup kitchens and food pantries are now supposed to examine labels on food products and separate which can be served where. That's because the ban covers food served in soup kitchens, but not packaged foods handed out by food pantries." Most facilities are "run by unpaid volunteers. They have enough trouble keeping track of inventories" says Mr. Berg, who adds that he nevertheless favors the law."

Bloomberg Sets His Priorities for the Farm Bill

NYC anti-hunger advocates were pleased to learn today that Mayor Bloomberg has offered his own letter to Congressional leaders asking for positive changes to the Food Stamps Program in this year's Farm Bill.

Calling the changes "critical" to the City's ability to support low-income working families, Bloomberg proposed increasing the minimum Food Stamps allotment to at least $25, increasing the resources limit to $4000 per household and allowing for simplification and increased flexibility in the program's administration.

Congressional leaders will meet for the next round of discussion on the Farm Bill this month. To get involved, consider writing a letter to your legislators!