Inflation is the primary reason that so many New Yorkers are experiencing hunger. We have to pay our rent or mortgage. We have to keep the lights on. We have to pay to gas up the car. But food is something families can control and many are now turning to food banks to supplement their meals.
On this National Food Bank Day, Dan Egan, the executive director of Feeding New York State, an organization that represents food banks all over New York, discussed why food banks are stretched to capacity this year.
“There may be this false belief that we’re not in lockdown anymore, because the unemployment numbers look much better than they did a year ago, that there might be less need,” Egan said. “In fact, we’re seeing equal or greater need right now.”
The reasons why are complicated: While the job market remains strong, many jobs are simply not paying enough to counteract rising inflation.
“Over the last year, 10-12% inflation in food, for example, wages have gone up 5%, so there’s a gap,” he explained. “People are actually worse off.”
Egan said if you’re interested in helping, you can either give of your time and become a driver, taking food to where it’s needed, or you can make a donation to your local food bank.
To locate your local food bank visit https://feedingnys.org/our-member-food-banks/.
There are 10 food banks around New York state. According to Egan, one donated dollar can usually feed four people.
“You may wonder how we can do that. It’s because most of the food is donated and so much of the work is (done by) volunteers. There are thousands of people volunteering. It’s wonderful,” Egan said.