The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, is an essential program, helping lift more than 41 million Americans out of poverty last year. Due to record inflation and wages that have not kept up, 1.6 million New York City residents rely on SNAP. Sarah, a single, working mother of three young children, is one. Sarah recently had her monthly rent raised nearly 32%, from $1,900 a month to $2,500. With the cut in SNAP benefits that went into effect on March 1, 2023, Sarah had to spend more of her earnings on food, and signed up to participate in NYCP’s Choice Pantry Program. She faced the difficult decision of whether to pay for lights, internet or rent. NYCP’s Help 365 case management team assisted her with applying for, completing and filing, a housing voucher to help pay a portion of her rent, and to cover her rent arrears.
Sarah was one of the lucky ones that sought assistance, and that we were able to help. Many will not be eligible for other resources, and will rely solely on food assistance. We are witnessing this first-hand. Our brick-and-mortar Pantries experienced an 18% increase in both meals and individuals served, comparing March 2022 to March 2023. Looking at the meals we served in February 2023 to those served this March — just one month after SNAP cuts — NYCP saw a 20% increase in the number of Choice Pantry meals served.
We’ve also seen a jump in our social services case management program. Fiscal year to date in the Bronx, which has the highest rate of food insecurity in New York State, there has been a 12% increase in guest membership renewals and a 34% increase in new members over the same time last year. Simply put, there are more people needing and seeking help.
Our Program teams continue to serve more families in communities throughout the city. We currently serve more than 300 partner sites across New York City with resource and food access, as well as nutrition education. As New York residents feel the impact of prolonged COVID-related poverty, inflation and the high cost of food, the loss of government “emergency food funding” initiated during COVID, and the aforementioned SNAP cuts, New York Common Pantry will be a lifeline for many.
Moving into our new spaces in the Bronx, including a warehouse space we affectionately call “The Hub,” will increase our ability to receive, pack, store and distribute more food, while strengthening our purchasing power. NYCP is now in a better position to serve more families than ever before to meet this growing demand. Please help us to help our neighbors in need. Please advocate for a stronger SNAP policy that includes the restoration of the so-called “Emergency Allotment” that helped so many during COVID and during the massive price inflation we all have been experiencing. Please support food pantries and soup kitchens, all of whom are on the front lines of this current crisis.
Thank you for your support in addressing food insecurity during this difficult time.
New York Common Pantry