Long Island food banks sees huge spike in people coming in for food

FREEPORT, Long Island (WABC) -- One of Long Island's largest food banks is reporting a 20 percent increase in the number of people coming through its doors.

The percentage amounts to 5,000 more people who obtained food through Long Island Care's Harry Chapin Food Bank in 2017 as compared to 2016.

"Continued underemployment, tax increases, lack of affordable rental apartments and more people considered to be among the working poor are factors resulting in more people visiting food pantries and soup kitchens, including the satellite locations operated by the food bank in Freeport, Lindenhurst and Huntington Station," CEO of Long Island Cares Paule T. Pachter said.

Pachter said the food bank saw an increase of 8.4 percent of adults seeking hunger relief in 2017. The number of children receiving assistance skyrocketed from 6,772 children in 2016 to 9,714 children in 2017 -- an increase of 43.3 percent. The number of seniors seeking food also increased by 25.7 percent.

"At a time when the economy is improving and many people have gone back to work, not everybody is benefiting, and that's a challenge," Pachter said.

Pachter said Long Island Cares is expanding its satellite location in Freeport, where they have seen more people coming to receive food. Eyewitness News spoke with Roberta Damore as she was picking out food.

"I'm on Social Security and I do get food stamps, but it doesn't quite make it through the month," Damore said.

Pachter said they're also hoping to add food pantries in Hampton Bays, Riverhead and Elmont.

Learn more about Long Island Cares and the Harry Chapin Food Bank.

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