New York City Food Bank gears up for Thanksgiving

Wednesday, November 22, 2017
New York City Food Bank gears up for Thanksgiving
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Dave Evans has more on the city's hunger crisis.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- In a wealthy nation and a city known for its bounty, it is a startling figure that on this Thanksgiving, one of every five New Yorkers doesn't have enough to eat. They depend on food pantries and shelters for help.

"It's true, hunger does not take a holiday," said Seana Weaver, director of Community Kitchens & Food Pantries at the Food Bank for New York City. "Hunger is every day. It's something people deal with every day, every month."

The Food Bank for New York City provides food for more than 1,000 soup kitchens, pantries and shelters in the five boroughs. This year, it will help provide and distribute 62.5 million free meals.

The Food Bank also operates its own kitchen in Harlem. On Wednesday, more than 600 people enjoyed turkey and all the fixings.

Without this program and food network, many would go hungry. Also, the city's hunger crisis has worsened this year as Washington cut back on its federal food stamp program.

Edith Hines receives just $121 in food stamps each month.

"Food stamps don't last, so this is like a home away from home," she said.

Another client is 70-year-old Vivian Youngblood.

"I get no food stamps," she said. "I pretty much rely on pantries because I'm on a fixed income. I'm retired now."

A new report from the Food Bank for New York City revealed central Harlem is one of the hungriest neighborhoods in the city. Officials say 29 percent of residents there must turn to the government or charities on a daily basis for help with food.

It is no surprise, then, that the Food Bank depends on 800 volunteers to collect and distribute food.

Volunteer Christina Andre dipped up turkey, pie and macaroni and cheese.

"It feels good, it's rewarding," she said. "It feeds my soul to be able to feed other people."

For more information on donations and volunteering, visit