One-and-a-half million people in New York City can’t afford to buy food. This is a difficult number to think about. They get their food from pantries. A lot of them are new to this situation. The New York Times published an article profiling individuals and families who visit the food banks. They have different circumstances and different needs, but they all need extra assistance.
Lines at the food banks and pantries are long, snaking around city blocks, but people do what they have to in order to stay fed. The highlight of the piece is the way it conveys the comfort that food brings people during the pandemic despite the sheer stress and anxiety of it all. It’s good to know that even now, when joy can be on the sparse side, there are still small things to look forward to. Some of the people profiled are quite the cooks, too: the piece contains a collection of photos of food that they made with the ingredients they were given. It made me feel like an inadequate home cook.
The pantries highlighted cater to different neighborhoods, ethnicities, and eating preferences. An emergency food distributor, City Harvest, recorded almost 12 million pantry visits in its network from March through August. That’s three million more than during the same period last year. Another service, BronxWorks, went from around 500 visitors a month to a whopping 4,000. Hunger, like coronavirus, has hit lower income neighborhoods in New York disproportionately.
At the bottom of the article, there’s a useful guide to support those in need, so if you’ve got extra resources, it wouldn’t hurt to consider helping out as we head into winter.