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Brooklyn Borough Prez Markowitz Teams with Brooklyn Letter Carriers & Food Bank For New York City to 'Stamp Out Hunger'!


May 5–10 Drop Off Canned Goods At Your Local Post Office And Help Provide Hunger Relief To Approx. 509,000 Brooklynites

Brooklyn, New York, April 30, 2008...Beginning Monday, May 5, the letter carriers of Brooklyn, in conjunction with the United States Postal Services, will join forces with 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 10 — which will mark the nation's largest single-day food drive.

Today at 11 a.m., Brooklyn Borough President, Marty Markowitz, hosted the kick-off of Brooklyn's Stamp Out Hunger effort at Borough Hall, 209 Joralemon Street, Brooklyn. Joining the Borough President were Dr. Lucy Cabrera, President and CEO of Food Bank For New York City; Joseph Chiossone, Postmaster, Brooklyn, New York; Angelo Mangano, President, Branch 41, NALC; representatives of several congressional districts; Brooklyn letter carriers, and representatives from the Food Bank's network of soup kitchens and food pantries. 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 315 emergency food programs in Brooklyn — 32 percent of the approximately 1,000 emergency food programs in New York City. You can also donate by the click of your mouse. Just log on to www.secondharvest.org/stampouthunger and participate in an interactive Virtual Food Drive. All donations will benefit the Food Bank For New York City and City Harvest.

"The food shortage in New York City has reached a crisis. Many programs are now beyond capacity and are struggling to keep pace with the ever rising numbers of people turning to their programs. One-half of Brooklyn emergency food program agencies were forced to turn people away at some time during the past 12 months — more than three-quarters reported lack of food as the number one reason," said Lucy Cabrera, President and CEO of Food Bank For New York City. " Every contribution makes a difference. Food collected during Stamp Out Hunger will help offset the rising demand for food."

Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz echoed those thoughts, "The rising cost of food means too many of our fellow New Yorkers have difficulty getting the food they need. Brooklyn has more soup kitchens and food pantries than any other borough in New York City, because we have great need, but it also shows that Brooklynites care about the issue of hunger. I am proud to join with the National Association of Letter Carriers' and Food Bank for New York City to ‘Stamp Out Hunger' and work toward the day when no Brooklynite or New Yorker goes hungry."

Joseph Chiossone, Postmaster, Brooklyn, New York, said, "It is my pleasure, on behalf of the United States Postal Service, to assist in the joint effort with our letter carriers to help those in their time of need."

Angelo Mangano, President, Branch 41, NALC, concurred," The Letter Carriers everywhere are caring and community-minded individuals. They care for the postal patrons they serve and they care for those less fortunate. For that reason, Brooklyn Letter Carriers have participated in the national food drive Stamp Out Hunger for many years and will continue to do so as long as it takes to help feed the hungry."

The rising cost of food could not come at a worse time for New York City's soup kitchens and food pantries and the 1.3 million residents who rely on them to put food on the table. From 2004 to 2007, the cost of food at home has increased by more than nine percent in the New York Metro area (eight percent throughout the U.S.). Not surprisingly, the need for emergency food assistance has risen dramatically over the same time period. The number of New Yorkers turning to soup kitchens and food pantries has jumped 24 percent from 1 million in 2004 to 1.3 million in 2007, including more working households.

Compounding the problem, flat funding and cuts to programs such as The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), administered by the USDA, have resulted in one of the most severe food shortages at soup kitchens and food pantries that the Food Bank has experience in its 25 year history. Donated product (between June 2007 and March 2008) is also down — 59 percent lower than budget projections. As food costs rise, programs are finding it increasingly difficult to purchase additional commodities to make up for this loss and meet the rising demand. As a result, almost one-half of the city's soup kitchens and food pantries have been forced to turn people away over the past year, the main reason being lack of food.

No relief is in site. The cost of food continues to rise in 2008 — we have seen a six percent increase in the New York Metro area from January to March alone (higher than the .1 percent increase throughout the U.S.) — and the Farm Bill, which sets funding levels for TEFAP, is currently stalled in Congress while New York families struggle to put food on the table.

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).
  • Forty-three percent of Emergency Food households are households with children age 17 and under (40 percent NYC).
  • Approximately one-third (31 percent) of Brooklyn Emergency Food Program households have elderly members age 65 and up (29 percent NYC).
  • In the past year, 52 percent of Brooklyn Emergency Food Program agencies (49 percent NYC) ran out of food/product on average almost one out of every five time (18 percent) open (17 percent NYC).

Food Bank For New York City recognizes 25 years as the city's major provider of food to New Yorkers in need. The organization works to end hunger and increase access to affordable, nutritious food for low-income New Yorkers through a range of programs and services that focus on food procurement and distribution, nutrition education, financial empowerment, research and policy.

Food Bank For New York City procures and distributes food through more than 1,000 emergency and community food programs, assisting the approximately 1.3 million New Yorkers who access emergency food. The organization 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 Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) program in the country; and conducts research and develops policy to inform community and government efforts to end hunger throughout the five boroughs. For every dollar donated to the Food Bank, 96 cents goes toward food acquisition, distribution and programs. For additional information, go to www.foodbanknyc.org

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 5–10 and make a canned food donation!

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