Report: Hunger on rise in NYC; nearly 1 in 6 residents can't afford enough food

Tuesday, November 21st 2006, 2:28 pm
By: News On 6

NEW YORK (AP) The number of city residents relying on food from charities and unable to feed their families is rising, according to a report issued by an advocacy group.

Nearly one in six city residents lived in households that could not afford to buy enough food during the three year period ending in 2005, according to the New York City Coalition Against Hunger report released Tuesday.

These households made up 15.4 percent of city residents, up from 14 percent between 2000 and 2003, according to the report, which was based in part on figures from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

According to the coalition's survey of the city's food pantries and soup kitchens, the number of people served by those charities rose an estimated 11 percent in 2006.

``I do think there's an increased demand, especially when I know that many of my staff in my own agency utilize food kitchens in between pay periods,'' the city's top welfare official, Human Resources Commissioner Verna Eggleston, said Monday in testimony at a City Council hearing on hunger.

Eggleston said her agency would begin accepting food stamp applications over the Internet next month, in a joint effort with the NYCCAH and another nonprofit group, Food Change.

About 1.1 million of the city's 8.1 million residents receive food stamps. Advocates estimate that hundreds of thousands more are eligible.

To target some of those people, Eggleston said, city employees will visit food pantries and soup kitchens during the holidays to help residents fill out food stamp applications.