One in 4 New Yorkers needs food as pandemic persists

International Desk Published: 22 May 2020, 04:09 PM
One in 4 New Yorkers needs food as pandemic persists

Two months into the coronavirus pandemic, with hundreds of thousands of people out of work, nearly one in four New Yorkers needs food, Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Thursday, reports New York Times.

To address the problem, the city plans to increase to 1.5 million the number of meals it distributes each day by next week, officials said, with a million to be delivered and 500,000  available for pickup at schools.

Before the virus hit, Mr. de Blasio said, officials believed that “somewhere over a million” city residents “were food-insecure, needed food more, at some point in the year.”  

As a result of the pandemic, he said, “we think that number is two million or more. So almost a doubling. That’s why we have made food such a central part of what we do in response to this crisis.”

The city has been expanding its food-distribution efforts for weeks and has given out 32 million meals during the crisis, the mayor said.

The mayor’s announcement came after a series of complaints about the quality and nutritional value of food delivered to some residents.

Kathryn Garcia, the top city official in charge of delivering food, said the city had terminated some food vendors for poor performance.

“‘Would you serve this to your grandma?’” city officials asked food vendors, according to Ms. Garcia. “We will hold people accountable.”

Separately, families of New York City public school students will soon get more than $400 per student, regardless of income, to help pay for food while school buildings are closed through a federal relief program.