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BP Markowitz, USPS, Food Bank For New York City and Harlem Globetrotters Team Up to 'Stamp Out Hunger' in Brooklyn


May 4–9 Drop Off Canned Goods at Your Local Post Office and Help Provide Hunger Relief to Approx. 509,000 Brooklynites


Brooklyn, New York — May 1, 2009. Beginning Monday, May 4, the letter carriers of Brooklyn, in conjunction with the United States Postal Service, will join forces with the Food Bank For New York City as part of the National Association of Letter Carriers' (NALC) Stamp Out Hunger! food drive effort. The food drive will culminate on Saturday, May 9 — which will mark the nation's largest single-day food drive.

Stamp Out Hunger 2009 - Markowitz & Globetrotters

Photo by Kathryn Kirk

In photo (left to right): BP Markowitz; Apollo Fraser, Harlem Globetrotter; Angelo Mangano, president, Branch 41, National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC); Joseph Chiossone, postmaster, Brooklyn; Leo Facto, USPS letter carrier; Anthony Martucci, USPS letter carrier; Hot Shot Branch, Harlem Globetrotters; Vito J. Cetta, USPS Triboro District Manager/Executive in Charge; Áine Duggan, VP, Research, Policy and Education, Food Bank For New York City

Today at noon, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz hosted the kickoff of Brooklyn's Stamp Out Hunger! effort at Borough Hall. Joining the Borough President were Áine Duggan, VP of Research, Policy & Education for the Food Bank For New York City; Vito J. Cetta, USPS Triboro District Manager/Executive-in-Charge; Joseph Chiossone, Postmaster, Brooklyn, New York; Angelo Mangano, President, Branch 41, NALC; Brooklyn letter carriers, and a special appearance by members of the world famous Harlem Globetrotters–Hot Shot Branch and Apollo Fraser, who are supporting Stamp Out Hunger! Together, they made the first donation of food items to Brooklyn residents in need.

Throughout the week, everyone can help Stamp Out Hunger! in Brooklyn, by making a delivery of non-perishable food items like canned meats and fish, canned soup, juice, pasta, vegetables, cereal and rice, at your local post office. All food donations will be repacked by the Food Bank and redistributed to community and emergency food programs to help families in need. There are 320 emergency food programs in Brooklyn — 31 percent of the approximately 1,026 emergency food programs in New York City. You can also donate by the click of your mouse. Just log on to www.helpstampouthunger.com.

"Never in the history of the Food Bank have we seen so many New Yorkers struggling to put food on the table, a trend we anticipate will worsen in the coming year. Already the level of need has reached crisis proportions," said Dr. Lucy Cabrera, President and CEO of the Food Bank For New York. "The Food Bank's resources are stretched beyond capacity. Every contribution makes a difference and food collected during Stamp Out Hunger will certainly help offset the rising demand for food."

Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz said, "Although our economy is on the downturn, unfortunately the cost of food is not. That leaves far too many of our fellow New Yorkers going to bed hungry, especially in Brooklyn, which has more soup kitchens and food pantries than any other borough. While that shows our borough has great need, it also means Brooklynites care about the issue of hunger and providing for friends and neighbors who are struggling to get even the most basic foods. Again this year, I am proud to join with the National Association of Letter Carriers and Food Bank For New York City to ‘Stamp Out Hunger' — and I urge everyone to give what they can and work toward the day when no Brooklynite or New Yorker goes hungry."

Vito J. Cetta, Triboro District Manager/Executive-in-Charge said, "This is a crucial time in Brooklyn and the rest of the country. Many Americans are suffering due to a difficult economic climate. We must extend our hands and our hearts to help our fellow citizens, especially our children. No child should go hungry in our country. This Food Drive is one way to do that. I am proud to join this year's Food Drive in order to raise awareness and help fulfill our objectives."

Joseph Chiossone, Brooklyn Postmaster, said, "It's a great service to partner again with the Brooklyn NALC to Stamp Out Hunger by helping those in need. It's an opportunity for us to come together collectively for a great cause."

President Angelo Mangano, Branch 41 NALC stated, "Once again Brooklyn Letter Carriers will continue in their efforts to help feed individuals less fortunate. On May 9 our brother and sister letter carriers across this nation will participate in the national food drive Stamp Out Hunger. Letter carriers not only deliver your mail but we'll help by delivering food to area food banks to assist individuals in our community."

According to NYC Hunger Experience 2008 Update: Food Poverty Soars as Recession Hits Home — a report released in mid-December 2008 by the Food Bank For New York City — over the past five years, the number of New York City residents having difficulty affording needed food has spiked to nearly 4 million-doubling from approximately 2 million in 2003-representing almost half of all New York City residents (48 percent). Approximately 3.5 million New Yorkers are concerned about needing food assistance (soup kitchens, food pantries and/or food stamps) during the next twelve months, including 2.1 million who have never accessed it before. This mirrors the finding that 3.7 million New Yorkers would not be able to afford food within three months of losing their household income. This alarming prospect may become all too real with unemployment at a 26-year high of 8.5 percent (March 2009) and predicted to continue rising through the end of 2009.

The youngest and oldest New Yorkers are the most vulnerable populations to food poverty:

  • 56 percent of households with children are experiencing difficulty, up from less than one-third (32 percent) in 2003
  • And the number of seniors experiencing difficulty more than doubled over the past five years, from less than one-quarter (23 percent) to almost half (47 percent).

A further troubling trend is the increased difficulty among the baby boom generation that will soon be aging into retirement, many of whom may not have enough time to offset lost retirement savings as a result of the current financial crisis. The number of New Yorkers ages 50 to 64 experiencing difficulty affording food doubled from 25 percent to approximately one-half (49 percent) in the past five years. Approximately half in this age group are concerned about needing food assistance during the next year. This concern is likely rooted in the finding that 42 percent in this age group would not be able to afford food within three months of losing their household income.

The tentacles of the financial crisis are also penetrating deeper into communities across the city as the number of middle income households experiencing difficulty affording food has tripled: among households with annual incomes between $25,000 and $49,999, difficulty increased from 21 percent in 2003 to 59 percent in 2008 (jumping 40 percent within the past year alone), and among households with annual incomes between $50,000 and $74,999, difficulty increased from 14 percent in 2003 to 43 percent in 2008 (jumping 59 percent within the past year alone).

In Brooklyn: Emergency food programs currently provide food to approximately 509,000 people annually (approximately 1.3 million in NYC), a 28 percent increase from approximately 399,000 people served in 2004 (approximately 1 million NYC). It should be noted that these figures are from 2007. Programs are reporting that they are seeing even more people seeking assistance as a result of the recession.

In Brooklyn: Forty-three percent of emergency food households are households with children age 17 and under (40 percent NYC).

In Brooklyn: Approximately one-third (31 percent) of Brooklyn Emergency Food Program households have elderly members age 65 and up (29 percent NYC).

In Brooklyn: As of 2007, 52 percent of Brooklyn emergency food program agencies (49 percent NYC) ran out of food/product on average almost one out of every five times (18 percent) open (17 percent NYC).

For more information about Stamp Out Hunger!, ask your letter carrier or contact your local post office. Better yet, stop by the post office on May 4–9 and make a canned food donation!

About the Food Bank For New York City
Food Bank For New York City recognizes 26 years as the city's major provider of food to New Yorkers in need. The organization works to end food poverty and increase access to affordable, nutritious food for low-income New Yorkers through a range of programs and services that focus on food sourcing and distribution, education and nutrition, financial empowerment, disaster relief and policy and research.

Food Bank For New York City sources and distributes food to more than 1,000 food assistance programs, assisting the approximately 1.3 million New Yorkers who access emergency food. The Food Bank provides food safety, networking and capacity-building workshops; manages nutrition-education programs for schools, after-school and emergency food programs; operates food stamp outreach and education programs; operates senior programs, a soup kitchen and food pantry; coordinates the largest civilian Tax Assistance Program in the country; and develops policy and conducts research to inform community and government efforts to end food poverty throughout New York City.

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