Queens hunger growing in numbers


By Queens Courier Staff |

According to recent surveys and studies, New Yorkers, including residents in Queens, are still going hungry. The New York City Coalition Against Hunger (NYCCAH) recently released a study that shows that over 1 million New Yorkers, equating to about 1 of every 6, live in homes that cannot provide a sufficient amount of food.
In fact, the NYCCAH found that 87 percent of the charitable feeding agencies located in Queens reported an increase in the number of people served. Nearly half of the agencies went on to say that the number of people they had helped in the last year had risen “greatly.” Due to this recent upsurge, some food agencies have had to turn away the hungry, or reduce average portion sizes.
“Once again, our annual survey finds that the city's pantries and kitchens - most of which are faith-based - are unable to keep up with the growing demand,” stated Joel Berg, executive director of the coalition. He points out that these statistics “should shock our political and business leaders at all levels into action.”
In fact, Congressmember Anthony Weiner agreed with Berg, saying, “In a wealthy city with world class restaurants and an abundance of food, it is disturbing that hunger is such a pervasive and growing problem. Many organizations are doing their part, but it is clear that much, much more must be done at every level of government and the private sector. It's downright immoral that so many New Yorkers are going to bed hungry at night.”
Many feeding agencies, such as the Glenridge Senior Center, have noticed the drastic increase (with regard to hunger) as well. Susan Simonetti, executive director of the program, said “Five years ago when the Glenridge Senior Center started its food pantry our goal was to help the few seniors we knew who needed help with food. Five years later we are serving over 300 people each week ages 2 to 97.”
The NYCCAH has released a plan to combat hunger; the points include increasing federal spending on soup kitchens, launching new policies to help the poverty-stricken rise, and rectifying tax policies to stem the soaring inequality of wealth.