EAST HARLEM, Manhattan (WABC) -- The Hispanic Federation and Ford Motor Company Fund, the philanthropic arm of Ford, launched their 11th annual Hunger Relief Campaign, Lucha Contra el Hambre, on Wednesday to help feed food insecure Latino families in New York City.
The campaign provides pantry essentials and culturally responsive meals directly to Latino families in need.
Single mother Alejandra Campos traveled from Bushwick, Brooklyn, with the simple goal of providing a holiday meal for her and her three children.
"This is food is for helping me and my family to have a good dinner and Thanksgiving," she said.
Campos and dozens of others poured into the Julia de Burgos Performing Arts Center in East Harlem, where the Hispanic Federation and Ford distributed an estimated 3,750 pounds of food and over 2,975 meals to help families put food on the table this holiday season.
Throughout the pandemic, communities of color have faced growing food insecurity.
"Our community has been disproportionately impacted," Hispanic Federation President and CEO Frankie Miranda said. "We have lost the bread winners in many of our families. Many people have lost jobs, and many people have not been able to come back to work."
Data from the USDA shows the number of Latino and Black families going without enough to eat climbed in 2020, and Latino families with children facing hunger jumped 28% to more than one in five.
Lucha Contra El Hambre meets this gap by bringing non-perishable foods and pantry essentials directly into the hands of students, families, and community members in need.
"I got fired on October 12," recipient Alexander Navarro said. "I am unemployed right now, and I have to do what I have to do to survive out here."
Bags of food also went to women and families currently in a domestic abuse shelter, a gesture of generosity that often generates a tearful response.
"To be given this token of good will, and that's why we are always so appreciative of working with the Hispanic Federation," said Katia Amaya-Salinas, with the Violence Prevention Program.
The eight-week campaign not only brings food, but hope as well, along with a holiday reminder to all who receive that they are not forgotten.
It also doubles as a service opportunity during the holiday season and strengthening community ties in several New York City neighborhoods.
The Hispanic Federation was founded in 1990 with a mission to empower and advance the Hispanic community and a focus on low-income, marginalized and immigrant Latinos.
With offices in New York, Connecticut, Washington, D.C, North Carolina, Florida, Puerto Rico, and additional programs in 25 states, its program focus areas include immigration, economic empowerment, civic engagement, disaster relief, philanthropy, education, health, and the environment.
Ford Fund's mission is to strengthen communities and help make people's lives better.
Working with dealers and nonprofit partners in more than 50 countries, Ford Fund provides access to opportunities and resources that help people reach their full potential.
Since 1949, Ford Fund has invested more than $2 billion in programs that support education, promote safe driving, enrich community life and encourage employee volunteering.
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