In March and April, City-supported food pantries served 1.39 million meals, marking a 9.3% increase compared to the 1.27 million meals served during the same time period in 2007, according to the New York City Department of Social Services. Soup kitchens were similarly affected, serving 559,798 meals in March and April, up 8.8% from last year. These sharp increases in soup kitchen and food pantry use coincide with reports that boast that the number of New York City residents receiving public assistance is at its lowest in 42 years.
“When New Yorkers need to obtain more than a million charity meals in just one month, something is very wrong,” said NYCCAH Executive Director Joel Berg. “There are many causes of hunger, poverty and homelessness in
The rate of client increase among all City soup kitchens and food pantries is likely higher than the Department of Social Services number, as only half of all City food programs receive City support, including many of the largest and most well-established programs. In 2007, 81% of soup kitchens and food pantries reported an increase in clients, with 40% stating that the number of clients served had increased “greatly,” according to NYCCAH’s Annual Hunger Survey. These numbers coincided with the onset of the current recession, which has led to an overwhelming demand for the services provided at soup kitchens and food pantries across the nation.