A new survey by the Food Bank for New York City found that 76 percent of the city's soup kitchens and food pantries don't have enough food to meet the needs of hungry New Yorkers, and they're worried that potential cuts by City Hall and Washington will make things even worse. NY1's Michael Herzenberg filed the following report.
Margarette Purvis, the head of the Food Bank For New York City, says Mayor Bill de Blasio's proposed $4.9 million cut to funding of food pantries and soup kitchens would devastate the city's poorest.
"I say to the mayor to the mayor that we are disappointed," Purvis said.
The mayor's office says the $4.9 million was a one-time appropriation last year and that it is still figuring out whether it is needed again this year.
1.4 million New Yorkers are said to be food insecure. That's nearly 1 in 5 of us.
Providers say the needs are overwhelming and obvious.
"The number of people needing food is skyrocketing," said Swami Durga Das, executive director of River Fund New York.
Das was one of the officials from dozens of charities attending the Food Bank for New York City's annual conference on Tuesday. The officials say they are even more anxious than usual because food prices are rising and there is growing concern the Republican-controlled Congress and the new Republican president will cut the federal Supplemental Nutrition Food Assistance Program, known as SNAP.
Another worry is that the feds are now starting to require that able-bodied adults without children have jobs to receive SNAP for more than 3 months.
"Our hunger safety net is at risk," Purvis said.
"I don't know if people are going to physically die, but I think the stress and the extremes of this, moms and kids and seniors, they're a throwaway population, in a sense," Das said.
The city funding removed from the mayor's preliminary budget could still be restored before the final budget is approved by June 30.