A new report released Wednesday shows more New York residents -- many with college degrees -- are having trouble putting food on the table.
The Food Bank's "NYC Hunger Experience 2011" report finds that between 2010 and 2011 the number of college-educated New Yorkers concerned about affording food or needing assistance getting food increased by 25 percent.
For residents with graduate or professional degrees, the number increased by 11 percent.
According to the report, 2.9 million New Yorkers are buying less food and less quality food to stretch their buck. It's a slight drop from 2010, but a whopping 40 percent increase since the Food Bank began the survey in 2003.
The food bank says the study shows that higher levels of education don't always provide a safety net against hunger.
"This research turns the conventional wisdom on its head," said Food Bank for New York City President Margaret Purvis.
"A lot of them who are coming into our soup kitchen looks like me. They are young, they are educated, recently they've graduated with their masters in social work. They have degrees in political science, engineering and they're coming in to get a meal," said Nathalie Jean-Louis of Neighbors Together Brownsville.
The report also finds that more middle-income New Yorkers who have trouble affording food are ineligible for food stamps or other nutrition assistance programs because of their income.
"I'm not able to provide, you know, for like the whole month of food for me and my son. So you know as a mother you gotta do what you have to do for your kid," said one New Yorker.
The report says part of the problem is the number of people who have lost their jobs and stayed unemployed so long that they've exhausted their benefits. It also says many returning to work have had to take lower-paying jobs, all while the price of food, mass transit, rent and medical care have gone up.
Additionally, the report warns if governments give in to pressure to cut food assistance programs, the health of millions of people could be in jeopardy.