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City Food Bank Claims Worst Food Shortage In Twenty Years

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The Food Bank for New York City is launching the "Go Orange" hunger-awareness campaign, to help offset what organizers say is the worst food shortage in the area in 20 years. NY1’s Roger Clark filed the following report.

Maria Cruz and Catalina Ramos are two of the more than 1,500 people served by the "Part of the Solution" food pantry in the Bronx, and both say they are in desperate need of food and household items.

"She economizes also by coming here and picking up pantry, which is free, so that she is able to pay other bills like Con Ed or telephone bills,” said Cruz, through an interpreter.

"Because she doesn't get full-time job status, this helps make ends meet,” said Ramos, through an interpreter.

Part of the Solution is one of a thousand agencies that receive food from the Food Bank for New York. But there isn't as much to go around lately, and many of the shelves at the food bank's huge warehouse in the Bronx are empty.

The agency's chief operating officer says there should be seven to eight million pounds of food in here. Instead, there are less than three million. He blames a steady reduction in a federal food program that has cut into the amount of food his agency can distribute.

"This was at a high of 30 million pounds we distributed three years ago. Last year, we distributed 17 million pounds,” said Food Bank for NYC COO Tyrone Harrysingh. “And we've budgeted this year 16 million pounds distribution of this food, and it is already trending lower than that.”

The food bank is asking for the public’s assistance in filling the shelves of their depleted warehouse.

Those interested in lending a hand, can find 'Go Orange' bags and pins available at Grand Central terminal the week of October 15th to 19th. The money will go to the Food Bank.

"That enables you to be an orange ambassador, help us to spread the word,” said Lisa Jakobsberg of the Food Bank for NYC.

Orange is the color of hunger awareness.

New Yorkers can also drop off non-perishable items at a food pantry.

For more information, call 212-566-7855 or visit www.foodbanknyc.org.

- Roger Clark
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