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Manhattan BP Stringer, Comptroller Thompson and Manhattan Elected Officials Campaign Against Holiday Hunger with Food Bank For New York City as Food Insecurity Surges 11 Percent Statewide


Stringer, Thompson Joined By Manhattan Elected Officials Including Councilmember Dickens and Assembly-member Wright Unload 100 Turkeys At Soup Kitchen And Serve Meal to 300 New Yorkers In Need

NEW YORK, NY, November 20, 2006 — To help combat hunger this holiday season, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, New York City Comptroller William C. Thompson, Jr., City Councilmember Inez Dickens, Assembly Member Keith Wright and other Manhattan elected officials today joined the Food Bank For New York City President and CEO, Dr. Lucy Cabrera, to deliver and unload 100 turkeys plus fixings and serve a holiday meal to 300 New Yorkers in need at Mt. Olivet Baptist Church, 201 Lenox Avenue, Manhattan. The event is part of Thanksgiving for Five — the Food Bank's borough-wide campaign to distribute more than 10,500 turkeys to community food programs including food pantries and soup kitchens serving New Yorker's in need this Thanksgiving.

This holiday season there are more than two million people in New York City at risk of going hungry, and half of those individuals are turning to emergency food assistance programs, including soup kitchens and food pantries. Of those people who are accessing emergency food assistance, most are women with children, the elderly, the disabled and the working poor.

Thanksgiving for Five kicks off at a time when even more families throughout New York State are struggling to put food on the table. According to a new report released by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) — Household Food Security in the United States — more than 35 million Americans, including more than 12 million children, are living on the brink of hunger. While the national figures show a decrease in the number of households experiencing difficulty, the same is not true for New York State. In New York State, food insecurity has increased from 9.4 percent in 2004 to 10.4 percent in 2005. Further analysis conducted by the Food Bank for New York City shows that this increase of 75,429 households represents up to 200,000 people — a rate of increase of 11 percent.

"The holiday season is always an especially challenging time for the Food Bank and our network of programs. The report from the USDA compounds that challenge," says Food Bank President and CEO, Dr. Lucy Cabrera. "More than one third of the Food Bank's fundraising takes place in October through December 31. While we help provide the food for over a quarter million New Yorkers every day throughout the entire year, much of our funds enabling us to do what we do comes in around the fall and winter holidays. We are especially thankful to Manhattan Borough President Stringer, New York City Comptroller Thompson, Councilmember Dickens and Assembly Member Wright for assisting us today at Mt. Olivet soup kitchen and helping us focus attention on the pervasive issue of hunger in New York City."

"In Manhattan, nearly a quarter of our residents are at risk of going hungry and across our city, thousands of New Yorkers struggle for food everyday," says Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer. "While Thanksgiving and the holiday season are a time to raise awareness about hunger, the real challenge is to shine the light on hunger and help New Yorkers in need every day of the year. The work of organizations like the Food Bank For New York City truly saves lives and I am incredibly grateful for their continued leadership and to have partnered with them today."

"Hunger affects too many New Yorkers every day," says New York City Comptroller William C. Thompson, Jr. "As we enter the holiday season, it is especially disheartening to know that New Yorkers have to struggle to feed themselves and their families. Those who help the Food Bank by participated in food drives, are not only helping New Yorkers, but also are joining the fight against hunger."

Most of the turkeys that will be disturbed during the Thanksgiving holiday are purchased in the spring at wholesale prices and stored in the Food Bank's 100,000 square foot warehouse in Hunts Point in the Bronx. In addition to turkeys, the Food Bank provides programs with holiday accompaniments including fresh produce such as apples, potatoes and carrots.

While emergency food programs (EFPs) struggle to provide temporary relief to New Yorkers in need, government funding levels for emergency food have been flat-funded or have suffered cuts over the last decade. Simultaneously, there is an urgent need to enroll more eligible New Yorkers in government nutrition assistance programs (such as the Food Stamp Program and the Child Nutrition Assistance Programs).

As the major distributor of food to more than 1,200 community food programs throughout the five boroughs, the Food Bank helps provide the food for more than 250,000 meals served every day.

If the Food Bank is unable to meet its fundraising goal, it could potentially result in cuts to food distribution and education services for its network of more than 1,200 community food programs. About 70 percent of the food that these programs receive is from the Food Bank. Meanwhile most of the resources that enable these food programs to build capacity and improve services for their communities emerge from our organization. Ninety-six cents of every dollar donated to the Food Bank goes toward food and program services, and the Food Bank is able to convert a dollar into five meals.

Last year, the Food Bank distributed more than 67 million pounds of food and was recognized as the 2004/05 Food Bank of the Year by America's Second Harvest, The Nation's Food Bank Network. There are many ways to help the Food Bank this holiday season. You can make a financial contribution, coordinate a food drive or Virtual food drive or volunteer. To learn more, visit www.foodbanknyc.org.

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