Hunger Free New York City, a division of Hunger Free America, is making the south Bronx a priority as the nonpartisan direct service and advocacy organization has opened an office at 938 Sheridan Ave. earlier this week.
Its intent is to assist more New Yorkers with enrolling in federally-funded food assistance programs, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as the Food Stamp Program, along with other programs such as the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children.
This new office opens as 38 percent of city parents report they had skipped meals or cut portions for their children because they lacked enough money for food in April.
“With the Bronx having been particularly hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent economic collapse, we decided one of the most effective courses of action we could take was to open an office where there is the most need,” said Hunger Free America CEO Joel Berg at the grand opening of the new office this afternoon.
According to the New York State Department of Labor, the Bronx’s unemployment rate was nearly 25 percent in June, five percent above the city average.
Prior to the pandemic, the Bronx was also ranked as the city’s hungriest borough with nearly one in four residents suffering from food insecurity in 2016 through 2018.
As the new office opened on Monday, Berg was joined by the NYC Food Czar team including DSNY Commissioner Kathryn Garcia, , Director of the Mayor’s Office of Food Policy Kate MacKenzie, Bronx Deputy Borough President Marricka Scott-McFadden, Councilmember Vanessa Gibson, and New York State Senator Luis Sepúlveda.
“New Yorkers are struggling, and it is more important than ever that our neighbors can easily access benefits like SNAP, WIC and P-EBT. This new office, funded in part by the City of New York, will help people in the Bronx connect to the support they need,”said Garcia, adding that New Yorkers can learn more about benefits at nyc.gov.
While the Robin Hood foundation was a major benefactor for Hunger Free NYC’s new office, other allocations came in part from a package of emergency food funds allocated earlier this year by the New York City Council and the City of New York.
“These programs have been historically under-utilized, but with more and more families experiencing economic hardship and hunger due to COVID-19, it’s essential for us to increase our outreach and help as many New Yorkers as possible, especially vulnerable immigrant populations,” Berg said.
Hunger Free NYC encourages all New Yorkers who believe they may qualify for SNAP to contact Benefits Specialist Gira Peguero at 646-350-0353 for help in English or Spanish and to contact WIC Benefits Specialist Andrea Quintana at 646-453-7064 for information about WIC.