Wednesday, November 28, 2007

2007 Survey Findings Released at Events in all 5 boroughs!

The Coalition released its report on its 2007 Annual Hunger Survey at City Hall the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, as well as at a series of events at food pantries and soup kitchens in all five boroughs. The City Hall event was in conjunction with leading New Yorkers - Council Speaker Christine Quinn, HRA Commissioner Robert Doar, NYC food policy coordinator Ben Thomases, Councilmembers Bill de Blasio, Eric Gioia, Annabel Palma , James Vacca, Letitia James, Jessica Lappin, and executive director of the New York City Coalition Against Hunger, Joel Berg.

Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum, State Senator John Sabini, and Queens Councilmember Eric Gioia attended the Queens specific press event at East River Development Alliance/Center of Hope International Bread of Life Food Pantry. In Brooklyn, borough president, Marty Markowitz, attended the press event at Bed-Stuy Campaign Against Hunger food pantry.

The survey release was covered by the NYTimes, Metro NY, AM New York, NY Daily News, Times Ledger, NY1, News12 Bronx, WNYC, Bloomberg News, BBC World Service, and by over 35 foreign media outlets across the world, including Taiwan's The China Post, Slovakia's Bleskovky paper, Angola Press, and Brazil's Globo News - just to name a few. Here is a complete list.

NYCCAH's Annual Hunger Survey 2007 Findings - Rising Food Lines, Sinking Economy

The Coalition Against Hunger conducted its Annual Hunger Survey of soup kitchens and food pantries across New York City. The Coalition’s full survey report, Rising Food Lines, Sinking Economy: Increase in NYC Hunger is Early Proof of Economic Slow-Down, found that the number of people forced to use these programs soared in 2007, while food stocks declined forcing more than half of the programs to ration food.

The Coalition's survey estimated that food pantry and soup kitchen use increased by 20% in 2007, on top of an 11% increase in 2006 estimated in last year's survey.Fully 59% of agencies – a record number – said they lacked the resources to meet their growing demand in 2007, a sharp increase from the 48% who lacked such resources in 2006.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

City to Give $1M to Soup Kitchens

Mayor Bloomberg announced that the City will give soup kitchens and food pantries $1 million extra funding and will provide a new 311 system for hunger assistance that will be staffed by city workers, instead of being automated. The mayor said that the money is coming from the federal government as part of the bonus the city earned by boosting food stamp program numbers. The 311 operators will handle calls about emergency food between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and until 3 p.m. Saturdays.

Monday, November 26, 2007

$5M Boost in State Funding to Food Banks

Governor Eliot Spitzer announced a $5 million boost in state funding to help restock the shelves of strained food banks across New York state during the holiday season. Spitzer made a visit to Bowery Mission in Manhattan on Wednesday; United Way of NYC will receive the largest portion of funding at $1,245,600. Decreases in private donations and in federal funding like TEFAP (The Emergency Food Assistance Program) have contributed to drastic shortages at food banks across the state. As seen in the Coalition Against Hunger's 2007 Annual Hunger Survey, the current economic slump is not only decreasing private donations, it is increasing the number of people in need. Emergency food programs are able to purchase much more with a dollar than the average consumer as they are able to buy in bulk at low rates; if you wish to contribute to your local food agencies, please consider making a monetary donation!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

NYCCAH's Website "Inspiring and Beautiful"

NYCCAH's website was included in a list of "Ten inspiring and beautiful non-profit Web designs" on the blog d'bug. The Coalition's current website was created and designed by former NYCCAH VISTA, David Hsia- thanks Dave!

"These ten registered charitable organizations are not only doing their part to enhance the quality of life for all humankind, but they are encouraging others to get involved through inspiring Web designs that communicate a clear message."

Monday, November 12, 2007

Hunger and the Farm Bill - Joel's NY Times Editorial!

Read Joel's excellent editorial on the Farm Bill published in the New York Times here. The Coalition's executive director responded to Michael Pollan's recent editorial in which Pollan referred to conservation programs and the food stamp program as mere "fleas".

Monday, November 05, 2007

The Farm Bill Has Fleas?

This Sunday's New York Times featured an op-ed article by Michael Pollan, Weed It and Reap, in which Pollan states his concerns with the current Farm Bill. Pollan,author of the New York Times bestseller The Omnivore's Dilemma, views the 2007 Farm Bill as continuing "in the traditional let-them-eat-high-fructose-corn-syrup mold." The massive piece of legislation that is the Farm Bill covers a wide variety of interests and has engendered strong feelings and differences of opinion as it comes up for vote in the Senate. NYCCAH's Joel Berg responds to some of Pollan's more pointed comments:

"Michael Pollan claims that environmentalists and the “hunger lobby” are bought off in the farm bill, giving our support to the harmful “elephant in the room” – agribusiness subsidies — in exchange for funding for conservation programs and food stamps, which he derides as merely “fleas.”

But blaming us for bad farm bills is like blaming long-suffering Mets fans – seated in the far upper deck at Shea Stadium – for the team’s overpaid players and year-end collapses.

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, agribusinesses contributed more than $399 million to federal political campaigns between 1990 and 2006. In contrast, even when some anti-hunger groups (such as mine) risk alienating donors by opposing corporate farm welfare, we hardly impact this big-money debate.

Considering that the Food Stamp Program helps more than 26 million Americans each month, it is no mere “flea.” Fighting to help millions avoid starvation, anti-hunger advocates take what we can get.

Mr. Pollan betrays his class bias in saying that processed food is not “real food.” While I agree with him that we shouldn’t be subsidizing sugared cereals and candy, his blanket condemnation of food processed by machines seems based on the assumption that working Americans have nothing better to do than mill their own flour, grind their own corn, make their own apple sauce, or create their own peanut butter from scratch.

He implies that the hunger problem in America would be magically solved if the government merely stopped subsidizing corn and other commodities which incur his wrath. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 35 million Americans live in homes that face food insecurity, unable to afford enough food even with today’s low prices for subsidized commodities. Thus, while Pollan’s proposal to reduce the disparity between prices for produce and those of other agricultural products would certainly improve nutrition for some, it would do little to aid the poorest, hungriest Americans.

To truly help that population, we need to return to an America in which people earned enough through full-time work to be able to feed their families. Until that time, we still need a stronger and better-funded Food Stamp Program."