At a time when the Food Bank for New York City is worried about its own supplies drying up, Margarette Purvis, the Food Bank’s president, says some groceries promised by the federal government have not been delivered because of the partial government shutdown. The non-profit is worried that regular deliveries eventually will be in jeopardy, too.
“The food bank moves 120 meals every minute, so you will quickly see our supply go down based on the food we expected from the government if things don't pick up very, very soon," Purvis said.
Making matters worse, demand likely will grow if the shutdown drags on and the 18,000 federal workers living in the city miss more paychecks.
“We’ve already seen people at our soup kitchen and food pantry in Harlem,” Purvis said. “Our members are saying that they're also seeing them."
The Food Bank says it will distribute groceries directly to members of the Coast Guard on Staten Island, supplementing a food drive already under way there. That's in addition to organizing pop up food distribution centers around the city for affected federal workers.
"We realize that these families really are not as familiar about what they're eligible for so they won’t just find food there,” said Purvis. “We're going to have information for them about doing their taxes for free at the end of the month to get cash in the households. We're also gonna have someone to help them apply for food stamps."
Food Stamps, now called the SNAP program, is only funded through February and the government decided to allocate February's allotments early last week. This raises another concern for the 1.6 million SNAP recipients in the five boroughs.
"That’s like 45 days without any help,” Purvis said. “We are concerned about what the rise is going to look like at food pantries and soup kitchens all over the city."
The Food Bank for New York City says that the first pop up distribution location for federal workers will take place on Tuesday, from Noon to 3 p.m. at the Barclays Center.