[Hpn] Demand at Food Pantries Rises, but Donations Drop

chance martin streetsheet@sf-homeless-coalition.org
Thu, 15 Nov 2001 12:37:56 -0800


http://www.nytimes.com/2001/11/15/nyregion/15HUNG.html?pagewanted=print

New York Times
November 15, 2001

Demand at Food Pantries Rises, but Donations Drop

By ALAN FEUER

The slow economy and the loss of thousands of jobs after the World Trade
Center attack have heightened demand at food pantries, but the supply of
donations is decreasing, according to a study released yesterday by the
city's largest food bank.

The food bank, Food for Survival, took a survey of the soup kitchens they
serve in the days after the Sept. 11 terrorist attack and found that 64
percent of the people receiving free food in New York were taking donations
for the first time. Most of these first-time clients were single mothers who
needed emergency food because they had lost their jobs in the attack, said
Lucy Cabrera, the president of the food bank.

Even before Sept. 11, Dr. Cabrera said, reliance on food donations was
greater than last year's. More than 1.5 million New Yorkers, including
510,000 children, relied on soup kitchens, food pantries and shelters to
avoid going hungry, Dr. Cabrera said. In 1997, by comparison, about 450,000
people received emergency food donations, she said.

Last month, Food for Survival distributed 28 percent more food to about
1,200 food pantries, homeless shelters and soup kitchens around New York
than in October 2000, Dr. Cabrera said at a news conference at the Hunts
Point produce market in the Bronx. At the same time, donations from
individual contributors decreased by about 30 percent in October compared
with the same month last year, she said.

Dr. Cabrera attributed the drop in donations to the fact that regular donors
had already given money to charities to help with the fallout from the
terrorist attack and could not afford to give much more.

Even with the decrease in donations, however, Food for Survival has not had
to decrease food deliveries, Dr. Cabrera said. Indeed, the food bank sent
huge amounts of food to ground zero after the attack.

"We saved up funds because we always knew that a rainy day would come," she
explained. "Well, that rainy day came on Sept. 11."

The study, called "Hunger in America 2001: The New York City Report,"
surveyed 632 emergency food providers in New York and 376 low-income
clients.

Copyright 2001 The New York Times Company

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