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Annual Hunger Report Shows Bump In Food Pantry Visits

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TWC News: Annual Hunger Report Shows Bump In Food Pantry Visits
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A new report finds that one in six New Yorkers and one in five children in the city lack sufficient food.

The New York City Coalition Against Hunger's annual report also shows a 10 percent increase at soup kitchens and food pantries from last year.

While the weakened economy accounts for a lot of people struggling to put food on the table, the Coalition says Hurricane Sandy only made the problem worse and forced more people to seek aid.

This doesn't take into account recent federal cuts to the SNAP food stamp program.

At the New York Common Pantry on East 109th Street, the line was literally around the block Tuesday as people showed up to get a Thanksgiving turkey and the trimmings.

For most of them, the holiday meal would not be possible without the assistance.

"It's very important when you don't have enough money to make ends meet," said one needy New Yorker.

Despite the grim data, officials say there could be good news ahead.

"We are very, very encouraged that mayor-elect de Blasio has made this issue a priority. His plans for universal pre-K would actually help reduce hunger because kids would get free meals," said NYCCAH Executive Director Joel Berg.

At the New York Common Pantry, there was a 21 percent increase last year in the number of meals served at nearly 2.5 million. And the people who need food represent a cross section of the city, including many working poor.

"These are people that are working jobs, everyday jobs and still having a difficult time making ends meet, so we're trying to help bridge those gaps for people by providing food and healthy food," said New York Common Food Pantry Executive Director Stephen Grimaldi.

To help against the fight against hunger, visit nyccah.org.

Those who want to help in time for Thanksgiving can participate in the annual NYC Turkey Drive, where $30 buys an entire holiday dinner.

For more information, visit nycommonpantry.org.

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