New York City Coalition Against Hunger says hunger is a big problem for the Big Apple.
A new report shows more New Yorkers are turning to food pantries and soup kitchens. The NYC Coalition Against Hunger said over 75% of food agencies in the city saw an increase in need this year before Superstorm Sandy hit. Executive Director Joel Berg said the devastation just highlighted an already serious problem in the city.
"Today some people seem to be shocked, 'Oh my goodness, the storm shows us there's poverty and hunger in New York City,'" he said. "The truth is, the storm ripped away the wall paper that was just covering up the misery that was happening day in and day out in New York City."
Since the storm, Berg said over 60% of aid agencies reported an increase in the number of people requesting food.
According to the New York City Coalition Against Hunger, public schools provide roughly 800,000 meals per day to children with financial troubles, but school closures made it harder for students to get food.
"Let's say at a minimum schools were closed for five days," Berg said. "Eight hundred thousand times five, that's 4.5 million meals that would have been served right after Sandy by New York City public schools that weren't served."
He added that even before Sandy hit, there were kids in New York City struggling to find food. The report showed about half a million, or 1 in 4 children in the city, live in food insecure homes. The Coalition Against Hunger is calling on the Federal Government to do more to address this issue, including increasing funding to aid agencies.