Though there are more New Yorkers who are suffering from food insecurity this year, Joel Berg of the New York City Coalition Against Hunger says that federal funding has helped keep a bad situation from turning much worse.
According to a survey by the coalition, New York City hunger rates have increased by 7 percent from last year, giving some feeding organizations little choice but to turn some individuals away. This was an improvement from the year before, however, as hunger rates were up 20 percent and more than half of all hunger-fighting organizations were unable to provide for all of those who sought help, reports WNYC.org.
"The only reason we are not facing a full blown hunger catastrophe is because the federal government programs as administered by the state and city are working as designed," Berg said at a West Side soup kitchen, according to the news source.
Thanks to stimulus funding, those who receive food stamps may receive more stamps each month, helping families remain more or less self-sufficient for longer. Feeding organizations also received emergency funding.
According to the Food Research & Action Center
, investing money in food stamps can create a "ripple effect" for the economy because low-income families receiving assistance will spend the extra money more readily than those who don't live paycheck-to-paycheck. USDA research also shows that each dollar in food stamps generates twice the amount in economic activity.