Food Pantry Demands Rising: Who is Hungry in America?
When we think of hunger, we usually imagine homeless shelters and soup lines full of the downtrodden or rural communities where not many people make above minimum wage. But hunger reaches Americans more potently, and in more unexpected places than we could imagine.
According to The New York Daily News, nearly one- in-five New Yorkers relies on some form of supplemental food like the SNAP food stamp program to food pantries and soup kitchens to aid their day-to-day life. Hunger doesn’t discriminate against the young and educated, either. According to the Huffington Post, food pantries on college campuses are on the rise as tuition has risen nearly 27 percent at public colleges over the past five years. Both of these alarming facts come on the heels of SNAP programs being cut nationwide earlier this year, which has also put a strain on food pantries, The Daily Meal reported.
“Today, 1.4 million New York City residents aren’t always certain where they will find their next meal, including one in four children,” City Harvest director Jilly Stephens told The Daily Meal. “And recent developments make our work even more critical in fighting hunger in our city. In November of 2013, New York suffered an additional blow – when nearly two million SNAP recipients in New York City saw their monthly food stamp benefits reduced by an average of $30-50 per household.
According to The Huffington Post, Long Island’s Stony Brook University just started its own food pantry this year, giving away staple foods like cans of vegetables and bags of rice to the dozens of students in need.
"We wanted to serve both the students who were hurting in that they didn't have enough to eat throughout the day and also the students who could only afford to buy pizza or ramen," said Casey McGloin, a co-founder of Stony Brook’s food pantry.
In New York, more people are in hungrier than ever. Nearly one-in-five New Yorkers relying on food assistance represents an increase of 200,000 people in five years, and charities like City Harvest and Food Bank for New York just can’t keep up with demand.
Joanna Fantozzi is an Associate Editor with The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @JoannaFantozzi.