Monday, December 22, 2014

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City Food Banks Face Federal Funding Shortage

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TWC News: City Food Banks Face Federal Funding Shortage
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City food banks across the city are already facing tough times, but now many are worried federal budget cuts would put an even bigger squeeze on their ability to help those in need.

In the past year alone, food pantries and soup kitchens across the five boroughs have served 11 million fewer meals due to federal cuts in the Emergency Food Assistance Program.

To make matters worse, Congress is considering possibly cutting billions of dollars from the Food Stamp Program over the next decade.

And with the demand higher than ever, some organizations are worried the move would have a devastating impact on food distribution.

"Federal funding is part of how we stay in business. The food that's made available to us through food banks is really a critical part of how we put our budget together, so you know, in the last years we've been facing increase in demand and people showing up and our goal is to never turn anyone away," said NYC Rescue Mission Executive Director Craig Mayes.

"It's our hope that we could continue to have this federal food available to us, that it increases and that we receive support from generous donors out there," said Food Bank for NYC Chief Programs Officer Dominique Jones.

The 140-year-old New York City Rescue Mission in TriBeCa is among the soup kitchens and food pantries affected by the funding shortfall, which has many recipients concerned.

"I would not have been able to eat. I lost my job, I lost my apartment, I didn't have Medicaid or welfare, so I had some place here to come here to eat," said Derrick Westcott, an emergency food recipient.

Officials say the cost of food is also rising forcing them to buy less and ration what they do have.

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