A food pantry on Richmond Terrace in Staten Island's Port Richmond section opens at 2 p.m on Fridays. But residents showed up well before then on this Friday, forming a long line on the slushy street, struggling to stay warm.
Raquel Colon is at the front of the line.
"It's been very stressful," she tells NY1.
Stressful, Colon says, because she has three kids and can no longer pay her bills.
She says she needs more food at home because they are learning remotely, so she's come to rely on the food she gets here.."
For many New Yorkers like Colon, food pantries and soup kitchens have been a lifesaver during the pandemic.
The city's largest food rescue organization, City Harvest, says it has donated 64 million pounds of food across the city since July 1, and the need is still growing.
Racine Droz is the director of donor relations at City Harvest.
"We didn't expect it to be this long and to be going into the second wave and the numbers going up," she says. "It's just something that we're like, it's not just supporting the need, but it's also the long-term effects of how we're going to respond to that."
City Harvest says it has delivered 83 percent more food this year to the 400 pantries it supplies.
Twenty-nine of 32 emergency markets that were supposed to be temporary are still open.
And mobile markets have given away nearly 3 million pounds of food, an increase of 113 percent
"People are struggling right now," says Victor Finn, who waited on the food line. "A lot of people are out of work, and they need the food."
According to data from the anti-hunger coalition FeedNYC, the number of children served by food pantries supplied by City Harvest has grown by 82 percent since July 1 compared to the same time period last year.
Harry Valdez waited on the line with his first-grader.
He's kept his job, but his wife hasn't. Being able to occasionally pick up food at the pantry has made things a little easier.
"It helps a lot. It helps a lot, really," he says. "Beause you're not making the same income and then you have to spend the same on groceries."
City Harvest estimates it will rescue and deliver 118 million pounds of food by next June. That's nearly double the amount it delivers in a normal year.
Although a COVID-19 vaccine is being distributed, City Harvest says the demand for food may continue to grow because of the economic aftershocks of the pandemic.