Nearly a quarter of New York City’s 8.6 million residents could go hungry because of the coronavirus pandemic, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday.
“I fear the number is going to be around 2 million New Yorkers who are food insecure as this crisis deepens and that’s a horrifying number,” de Blasio said at his daily City Hall briefing.
The projection is double the amount of New Yorkers who lacked reliable access to meals before the pandemic hit the city.
It is based on 500,000 people losing their jobs, including many breadwinners, de Blasio said.
“That means, of course, the ability to buy food is massively disrupted,” he said.
“Think about folks who just weeks ago couldn’t have imagined not having enough food to eat and now they’re struggling to find it. There’s so many people who need help,” de Blasio said.
City officials expect to give out 10 million free meals to hungry New Yorkers in April and an additional 15 million meals in May, de Blasio said.
Any city resident can get grab-and-go meals at Dept. of Education sites around the five boroughs. There’s also a free delivery service for homebound New Yorkers. The city and the state have pledged a total $50 million to help overwhelmed local food pantries.
The food pantry assistance is on top of the city’s $170 million emergency program to feed New Yorkers during the crisis.
“That’s going to have to grow so we need help from Washington to make all that happen,” de Blasio said, adding that the city expects reimbursement from FEMA for the emergency food program.
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