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NY Giants Split O-line and D-line to 'Tackle' Hunger This Holiday Season

Economic Downturn and Unprecedented Food Shortage Strains Food Bank's Resources. 1.3 Million New Yorkers Already Rely on Soup Kitchens & Food Pantries for Survival.

New York, NY — Tuesday, November 25...Super Bowl Champions, the New York Giants, ‘teamed ' up today with the Food Bank For New York City to face down one of their toughest opponents to date: hunger relief in New York City this holiday season.

At 10 AM, the Giants' O-line — led by David Diehl and Chris Snee — arrived at the Food Bank's warehouse located at 355 Food Center Drive, in Hunts Point, the Bronx, to load up one of the Food Bank's 54-ft.-long tractor trailers with 350 turkeys and all the fixings for delivery to the Food Bank's Community Kitchen of West Harlem located at 252 West 116 Street, Manhattan. When the tractor trailer arrived at the Community Kitchen at 2:30 PM, it was met by the Giants' D-line — led by Justin Tuck and Mathias Kiwanuka — who unloaded the turkeys and all the fixings and then joined the serving line inside and helped serve the dinner meal to 700 New Yorkers in need. The Food Bank's Community Kitchen of West Harlem served more than 92,000 meals in FY08.

Even prior to the present economic crisis, the Food Bank was reporting that New York City residents were struggling to put food on the table. According to the Food Bank's NYC Hunger Experience 2008 poll report, which was released in June of this year, 3.1 million New Yorker City residents were having difficulty affording needed food — a 55 percent increase from two million in 2003. In the same time period, the cost of food in the NYC Metro area rose 15 percent. While the demand for emergency food increases, the amount of food that is now available to the Food Bank's emergency food assistance programs has drastically decreased. Food donations were down 40 percent at the end of FY '08. This year, donated product is already down 24 percent.

The Food Bank is already experiencing the dire effects of the economic downturn as corporations pull back on funds and resources; foundations cut long-term support for important programs that support the poor; and the number of individual donors plummets.

"The New York Giants are fully aware of how badly the food banks are suffering in this time of economic hardship," said Allison Stangeby, Director of Community Relations for the New York Giants. "Many of the people who used to donate to food banks are now those in need of donations. As always, the team is here to help with our time, talent and treasures. With that in mind, our players are also well aware of how critical the situation is and are lending their support in numerous ways to call attention to the plight of the food banks."

Recognizing the enormous strain being placed on the Food Bank For New York City, another long-time supporter has stepped forward to show their unprecedented support. The Robin Hood Foundation announced that any dollar donated to the Food Bank, up to one million dollars, will be matched two-for-one by the Foundation. The resulting three million dollars will enable the Food Bank to help provide an additional 15 million meals to New Yorkers in need.

"We are very grateful to the New York Giants for their continuing support and for helping to bring much needed visibility to the pervasive issue of hunger in New York City, especially in these troubled times," said Dr. Lucy Cabrera, President and CEO of the Food Bank For New York City. "The Food Bank is deeply concerned about the impact that the financial crisis and skyrocketing food and fuel costs will have on all New Yorkers. The holiday season is an especially challenging time for out network of programs. While the consequences of these economic factors are not yet fully known, we feel certain about two things - the number of New Yorkers in need of assistance will surely rise, and thanks to partners like the New York Giants and the Robin Hood Foundation, the Food Bank For New York City will be there to help."

Here are some things that we do know:

  • 1.3 million New York City residents turned to food assistance organizations in 2007 — a 24% increase from 2004. We have good reason to believe this number is increasing.
  • Among NYC residents experiencing difficulty affording needed food, 38% had to forego purchasing food for themselves and their families at some point during the past year. 
  • 1.6 million NYC residents would be unable to afford needed food immediately after the loss of their household income — a 23% increasing from 1.3 million in 2003. 
  • These 1.6 million New Yorkers are living paycheck to paycheck at a time when NYC is experiencing huge job losses as a result of the current financial crisis. 
  • Soup kitchens and food pantries are turning clients away.

Children are the hardest hit:

  • As of 2007, one in five children (397,000) rely on soup kitchens and food pantries, up 48 percent from 269,000 in 2004.
  • Notably, children account for 43 percent of the overall increase in city residents, from one million to 1.3 million, relying on emergency food during this time period 
  • Food poverty among New York City children has been escalating at an alarming level for the past few years, and the 2008 financial crisis will deepen/spread the crisis even further unless measures are implemented to address the problem. 
  • New York City children are particularly vulnerable to food poverty, and several indicators show food poverty among children in New York City is on the rise. 
  • More than one out of every four New York City children lives below the poverty level.
  • Insufficient incomes, rising prices and lack of access to nutritious food all contribute to food poverty, and children end up suffering consequences including poor health, increasing rates of diet-related diseases such as obesity and diabetes and low educational achievement.

There are many ways to help the Food Bank this holiday season and beyond. You can make a financial contribution, coordinate a food drive or virtual food drive or volunteer. A $1 donation to the Food Bank provides 5 meals. However, if you make that donation during the month of December, your donation will be eligible for the Robin Hood Matching grant so that $1 = $3.

About the Food Bank For New York City
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 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 then distributes food to more than 1,000 food assistance 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 Free 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. Learn more about our programs.

The Food Bank recently received its fourth, consecutive 4-star rating from Charity Navigator for effective and fiscally responsible management. Only 6 percent of charities rated have received such a rating, demonstrating the Food Bank's continued commitment to addressing the issue of food poverty in a responsible manner. For every dollar donated to the Food Bank, 96 cents goes toward food acquisition, distribution and programs.

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