Pandemic-era SNAP benefits, formerly known as food stamps, ended on March 1st, leaving nearly 1.6 million New York City residents food insecure, a 44 percent increase due to COVID-19. The number of food-insecure individuals is projected to increase since the benefits were eliminated. As a result, hard-working New Yorkers are seeking supplemental assistance for additional food resources.
Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens is concerned that the rise in food insecurity will most negatively affect families and older adults. As one of the largest human services providers in New York City, we’ve witnessed firsthand how our neighbors are struggling to make ends meet. When SNAP benefits were cut, we saw an all-time high in food pantry visits and do not expect demand to slow down. In March, Catholic Charities provided 146,842 pounds of food, serving 36,624 individuals for 329,616 meals.
To keep up with the spike in demand in various neighborhoods, and with support from various foundations, the Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens Food Pantry Network has expanded to over 60 parish-based food pantries, providing 1.1 million pounds of food, which served 340,791 individuals for a total of 3,067,119 meals in 2022 alone.
“We see hard-working low-to-moderate income individuals, families, and older adults looking to supplement their income now that they are paying more and buying less”, said Debbie Hampson, CRC, Senior Director for Community Outreach Services. “People should not have to decide whether to pay a utility bill or put food on their table. Access to quality nutritious food is a basic human right, and these cuts keep people, especially vulnerable communities, impoverished.”
To lend a helping hand, Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens also hosts community health and wellness events in neighborhoods without a Catholic Charities food pantry to support families looking for extra help. Guests can access fresh fruits, produce, and meat, which has recently skyrocketed in price. “We anticipate and are preparing to provide individuals and families with direct access to food, limited financial assistance, and education in the next few months,” said Debbie Hampson.
To read more about how Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens is helping families make ends meet, read the following article we were recently featured in: