Food Bank's budget cut nearly in half

July 5, 2011 2:28:25 PM PDT
Between working two jobs, and raising two sons on her own, Vilma Frias also does two monthly shopping trips; one in which she pays for the groceries in her cart, and one in which she doesn't.

"The food is so expensive, even when you're working the money isn't enough," Frias said.

The free groceries she gets at the Food Bank for New York City's pantry in West Harlem each month means the difference between being able to fill her sons' stomachs or not.

"This place magical," said Jonathan Jones, a pantry patron.

The same for Jonathan Jones who has picked his life up since becoming homeless a decade ago, much because of the free hot meal he knows he can get there each day.

"This place has made a big difference in my life. It's not only keeping me healthy. It's keeping me alive also," Jones said.

But the program that keeps them and more than 4,000 other New York Families fed is in jeopardy, after the state unexpectedly cut nearly half of their funding.

"48% of our budget is quite devastating," said Dr. Lucy Cabrera, CEO of Food Banks for New York City.

And that is just the start of the problems for this organization.

There's also a federal bill that, if passed, would leave them serving 10 million fewer meals throughout New York City each year," Cabrera said.

The impact would extend to other soup kitchens and pantries as well.

But where they've seen a 30% increase in the number of people filling these tables, the need is too great for the doors to close.

"That's why our appeal is going out to New Yorkers to help close that gap," Cabrera said.

A gap of $800,000 that left unfilled would mean fewer bites in the mouths of needy New Yorkers, and fewer bags in the hands of mother's just trying to get by.

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