Friday, March 14, 2008
Pantries and Kitchens Struggle to Serve as Rich Get Richer
As with many food pantries and soup kitchens across the city, the food program at St. Ann’s Church in the Bronx has experienced a dramatic increase in customers, and are stretching resources to meet the needs of over 500 people a week. As reported in NYCCAH’s 2007 Hunger Survey, over 88% of responding agencies in the Bronx reported feeding an increased number of customers in the last 12 months. As wages have been outpaced by inflation, more and more New Yorkers find themselves dependent on programs like St, Ann’s, who fail to receive the federal support to sustain their growing customer base. This influx comes at a time when wealthy New Yorkers are enjoying unprecedented prosperity. Said Coalition Executive Director Joel Berg, “when billionaires are able to dramatically increase their wealth because of massive federal tax cuts targeted to them, this drains revenues away from the government that could have otherwise been used to pay for programs that fight hunger.” In a city where the 64 wealthiest citizens have a greater combined wealth than the 1.7 million poorest, emergency feeding programs will continue to be stretched to their limits without immediate and direct federal intervention.