The Food Bank For New York City released a report on Monday showing that Brooklyn has the highest level of food insecurity in the city.
Seven of the top ten community districts with high levels of food insecurity were found in Central and East Brooklyn, including Brownsville, Bedford Stuyvesant, East Flatbush, East New York, Crown Heights, Prospect Heights and Flatbush.
The Food Bank generated the report over a four-week period in October with the input from 735 leaders from soup kitchens and food pantries. The survey revealed an overall greater demand concentrated on food pantries across the city. Emergency food providers reported seeing longer lines with more first-time visitors, senior citizens and families with children.
According to the report, which was released at the Food Bank's annual legislative breakfast, nearly 80 percent of food pantries and soup kitchens across NYC have seen increased demand. The analysis also showed that soup kitchens and pantries struggle to keep up with the increased demand: More than 54 percent of them reported running out of food and 29 percent reported turning people away because of lack of food.
Another revealing number the report presents is the "meal gap," which is the number of meals missed when households have insufficient funds to buy food. Brooklyn again ranked first, with almost 81 million meals missed.
"This snapshot describes what we're seeing right now on the front lines and comes directly from the men and women most intimately involved in ending hunger across the five boroughs," said Food Bank For New York City President and CEO Margarette Purvis. "Our survey's findings make it clear that in the 35th year of the city's emergency food network, the perceived profile of reach and capacity of the neighborhood soup kitchens has completely changed. It is the greatest indicator of growing need in our city and a requirement for families to try harder to make ends meet."
To see the complete report, go here.