One in six New York City residents, including one in five children, are living without enough food, according to a new report from the New York City Coalition Against Hunger.
"Now that the official recession is over and the floodwaters have receded, we can clearly see that New York is still suffering from a tale of two food cities," said Joel Berg, executive director of NYCCAH. "While the wealthy have better gourmet food than ever, one in six of our neighbors is struggling against hunger."
In the 2010-2012 time period, between 1.3 and 1.4 million New Yorkers lived in households that lacked sufficient food. Food insecurity increased by at least 200,000 since the 2006-2008 time frame, the report shows.
Between 2006 and 2008, 19 percent of city children lived in homes that were food insecure. By 2010 to 2012, that number increased to 22 percent.
The problem is worst in the Bronx, where 49 percent of children are food insecure.
In addition, the city's food pantries and soup kitchens faced an increased demand of 10 percent in 2013, on top of increases of 5 percent in 2012, 12 percent in 2011, 7 percent in 2010 and 29 percent in 2009. Most agencies said the aftermath of Superstrom Sandy was either the main factor or a contributing factor to the increased demand.
At the same time, 57 percent of the pantries and kitchens citywide suffered from cuts in combined government and private resources, compared to 11 percent that received increased resources, according to the report.
"It is simply unconscionable that at a time of record stock prices, the city’s pantries and kitchens are facing such deep budget cuts that half of them have to cut back on food for hungry New Yorkers," Berg said.
He added that he supports Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio's proposal to increase taxes on the wealthy to pay for universal Pre-K, stating that it would reduce child hunger because the programs provide nutritious meals for children.
The report also found that hunger increased across the state. One in eight New York State residents experienced food insecurity between 2010 and 2012, up 40 percent from the 2000-2002 period.