It might be time to emphasize that giving part of Thanksgiving: New York City’s food pantries and soup kitchens are short on supplies this year, thanks to Congress’s decision to drastically reduce food stamp benefits. Those cuts took about $18 a month from New Yorkers’ food stamps, meaning that there are a whole lot of missing meals. (Good old Congress!) A new report from the Food Bank for New York City found that eighty percent of pantries have seen more demand over the past year, and, in September, sixty percent ran out of at least one kind of food. In more than a third of these kitchens, volunteers were forced to turn the hungry away.
That’s definitely bad news. The food stamp cuts might sounds slight, but they’re resulting in a lot of New Yorkers going hungry on a daily basis. “That is a tremendous loss,” Food Bank vice president Triada Stampas said at Monday’s City Council hearing, according to the New York Daily News. “The impact on food pantries was immediate, widespread, and unfortunately it has continued.”
So it would probably be nice if you donate some of those good old canned goods (or your money or your time) to a food bank in Brooklyn over the holiday season. City Harvest has all kinds of guidelines and suggestions for how to do that, from helping rescue excess food donations from farmers to distributing produce at farmer’s markets.