Hunger in the city: NYC's largest soup kitchen on track to serve most meals in its 26-year history
By Amanda Magnus
Special to amNewYork
New York Citys largest soup kitchen expects to serve 330,000 meals this year, the greatest amount in the organizations 26-year history.
Were in a sort of perfect storm here, said the Rev. Liz Maxwell, the executive director of Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen on West 28th Street and Ninth Avenue, at a news conference yesterday.
Even as the soup kitchen copes with record need, donations from individual and foundations have dropped because of the recession, Maxwell said.Heidi Siegfried, the vice-chairwoman of the Hunger Action Network of New York State, said that since 2004, the number of children in New York City who have used a soup kitchen or food pantry at least once has doubled, to one in five.
The problem has legislators in Albany concerned. Assembly members are fighting to roll back some tax cuts to the wealthy, as well as protect state health and nutrition programs, said Richard Gottfried, (D-Manhattan), the chairman of the Assemblys health committee.
Dolores Quintero, 46, says she lives on $106 a month. For every check she receives, she has to choose amonmg laundry detergent, household needs, or toiletries. She called the way she had to live disgraceful and embarrassing.
Food stamps are not enough, Quintero said. More depend on going to food pantries and soup kitchens than ever before.
Veda Myers, of he Hunger Action Network of New York State, said communities across the state are wrestling with growing numbers of people who rely on soup kitchens. Her group used to get a maximum of three calls a day from people asking about found stamps. Last Friday, they received four times as many calls.
A lot of people who own homes and have jobs are applying for food stamps, Myers said.