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NYC has hungriest nabe in nation: Report

Visitors eat free lunch at a soup kitchen

Visitors eat free lunch at a soup kitchen Credit: Visitors eat free lunch at a soup kitchen. (Getty Images)

Despite its world-class restaurants, New York City is home to the nation's hungriest Congressional district.

From 2011 to 2012, more than 36% of households in the since redistricted Congressional District 16, which included parts of the South Bronx, suffered from "food hardship," according to a report released Thursday by the Food Research and Action Center, a non-profit organization.

The area was changed to the 15th district last year.

"In the richest city in the richest nation in the world, this is unacceptable and just plain wrong," said Joel Berg, executive director of the New York City Coalition Against Hunger.

The 16th Congressional district had the country's highest percentage of respondents that said there were times when they did not have enough money to buy food they or their family needed, according to Gallup polling data cited in the report.

When the survey was conducted, the 16th encompassed several neighborhoods in the South Bronx, including Bedford Park, East Tremont, Fordham, Hunts Point, Melrose, Highbridge, Morrisania, Mott Haven and University Heights.

"Any level of food insecurity is unacceptable in a city and a nation as wealthy as ours," said Rep. José Serrano, who represented the 16th when the poll was conducted.

In January, Serrano, who now represents the 15th district, which encompasses essentially the same area, introduced the "Anti-Hunger Empowerment Act," a bill that would eliminate fingerprinting requirements under the SNAP program and establish a federal grant program for community-based anti-hunger organizations.

He's introduced the bill five times, including this year. It has never gotten past committee.

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