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New Survey: Economic Woes And Record Unemployment Send More New Yorkers In Search Of Food…Reports Food Bank For New York City


~ Half of NYC’s Food Assistance Organizations Report 25% Increase in Demand ~

New York, NY - Sept. 16, 2009 — According to a new survey released today by the Food Bank For New York City, 90 percent of the Food Bank’s network of emergency food sites are reporting an increase in the number of people coming to them for help — and upwards of half have seen an increase of more than 25 percent in the past year.  The current recession and the continuing rise in unemployment are having a profound effect on the Food Bank’s ability to meet the demand. 

“While staggering and disappointing, these number do not come as a surprise to the Food Bank and its approximately 1,000 member food assistance sites that support New Yorkers in need,” said Dr. Lucy Cabrera, President and CEO of the Food Bank For New York City.  “In fact, research conducted by Food Bank For New York City and Marist College Institute for Public Opinion shows that the number of New York City residents experiencing difficulty affording food has been escalating for several years doubling from approximately 2 million to approximately 4 million from 2003 to 2008, representing almost half of all city residents.” 

According to the Food Bank, the recession has escalated this trend and the number of New Yorkers having difficulty increased by almost 1 million (26 percent) from 2007 to 2008 alone. As a result, soup kitchens and food pantries throughout the city have been reporting over the past year that more individuals and families are turning to them for assistance including more first-time visitors, unemployed workers, employed individuals, seniors and families with children.

The survey, conducted by the Food Bank in the spring of 2009, determined changes in demand for emergency food and resources available.  Two-thirds of the soup kitchens and food pantries in the network responded.  The preliminary results of the survey are below.  A full report of the findings will be released in October.

EMERGENCY FOOD PARTICIPANTS SURVEY
New York City Residents Accessing Emergency Food Assistance
* More than nine in every ten (91 percent) emergency food sites (food pantries and soup kitchens) in New York City experienced an increase in the number of residents turning to their sites for assistance in 2008.

First-Time Emergency Food Participants
• More than nine in every ten (93 percent) emergency food sites experienced an increase in the number of individuals accessing emergency food for the first time. 


• More than one-half (53 percent) of emergency food sites saw the number of first-time emergency food participants increase by 25 percent or more.

Employed: Almost two-thirds (63 percent) of soup kitchens and food pantries experienced an increase in the number of employed individuals accessing emergency food.
» Almost one in every five (18 percent) emergency food sites saw the number of employed individuals accessing emergency food increase by 25 percent or more.
Recently Unemployed: Approximately nine in every ten (87 percent) emergency food sites experienced an increase in the number of recently unemployed individuals accessing food assistance.
» A total of 40 percent of emergency food sites saw an increase in the number of recently unemployed individuals accessing emergency food increase by 25 percent or more.
Seniors: Two-thirds (66 percent) of all food sites experienced an increase in the number of seniors accessing emergency food.
» More than one-quarter (28 percent) of emergency food sites saw the number of seniors accessing emergency food increase by 25 percent or more.
Children: More than two-thirds (70 percent) of emergency food sites experienced an increase in the number of children accessing emergency food.
» Three-quarters (75 percent) of food pantries experienced an increase in the number of children accessing emergency food, while more than one-half (55 percent) of soup kitchens experienced an increase in the number of children.

Approximately one-third (32 percent) of emergency food sites saw the number of children accessing food assistance increase by 25 percent or more.

EMERGENCY FOOD RESOURCES

Percentage of Emergency Food Sites That Ran Out of Food 
• A total of 59 percent of soup kitchens and food pantries in New York City ran out of food in 2008.  Approximately two-thirds (64 percent) of food pantries ran out of food, while 44 percent of soup kitchens ran out. 

Emergency Food Sites Having to Reduce the Amount of Food per Person
» More than two-thirds (69 percent) of emergency food sites had to reduce the amount of food per person or household. 
» Three-quarters (75 percent) of food pantries had to reduce the amount of food per person or household, while approximately one-half (49 percent) of soup kitchens had to reduce the amount of food per person or household.
Emergency Food Sites That Turned Away Individuals Due to a Lack of Food or Resources
» Approximately one-half (47 percent) of emergency food sites reported turning away individuals due to a lack of food or resources. More than one-half (51 percent) of food pantries had to turn away individuals due to lack of food or resources, compared to more than one-third (35 percent) of soup kitchens.
Emergency Food Sites That Reduced the Days/Hours of Food Distribution Due to Lack of Food or Resources
» Approximately one in every four (24 percent) emergency food sites reduced the number days or hours of emergency food distribution.
» More than one in every four (28 percent) food pantries had to reduce the days/hours of food distribution due to a lack of food or resources, while approximately one in ten (11 percent) soup kitchens had to reduce days/hours of food distribution.

EMERGENCY FOOD VOLUNTEERS


Percentage of Emergency Food Sites Experiencing a Change in the Number of Volunteers
• A total of 40 percent of soup kitchens and food pantries experienced an increase in the number of volunteers, while less than one out of every ten (8 percent) experienced a decrease.

Individuals Volunteering the Most Hours at Emergency Food Sites
• Retired residents were among those who volunteered the most hours, according to approximately two-thirds (62 percent) of emergency food sites, followed with unemployed volunteers (55 percent), student volunteers (36 percent), and employed volunteers (32 percent).

SUCCESSION PLANNING AT EMERGENCY FOOD SITES

Percentage of Sites Able to Fill the Role of Director from Within
• If necessary within the next year, 80 percent of emergency food sites would be able to fill the role of director from within their site.

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, 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 Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) 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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