You are reading

Flushing-Based Food Pantry Loses Federal Funding As Food Insecurity Rises Citywide

(Photo by Steve Knutson on Unsplash)

Sept. 24, 2020 By Allie Griffin

A Flushing-based food pantry has suddenly lost its funding at a time when more New Yorkers are going hungry amid the pandemic and subsequent shutdown.

La Jornada, which has distributed food to Queens residents for 12 years, recently lost its federal grant from a coronavirus food assistance program, U.S. Reps. Grace Meng and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said Thursday.

“Not having access to these funds would have a devastating impact on so many in our borough who depend on the services that La Jornada and others provide, particularly during the COVID-19 crisis,” Meng said.

La Jornada isn’t the only emergency food provider hit either. Other local food organizations in both Queens and the Bronx have also lost their funding, the lawmakers said.

The Congresswomen are joined by other Queens electeds who decried the loss of much-needed funding, such as Queens Assemblymember Catalina Cruz and Acting Borough President Sharon Lee.

They said the loss of support for the nonprofits that feed the hungry comes as lines for food pantries in the borough wrap several blocks.

“In a community that was already experiencing food insecurity prior to COVID-19, we saw the need skyrocket as thousands of our neighbors lost their jobs after the state shutdown,” Cruz said. “Food banks, such as La Jornada’s, have been critical in ensuring the survival of our community during the pandemic.”

Nearly a third of food pantries and kitchens in the city said the number of visitors they feed doubled in April from months before the pandemic hit the city, according to survey by the Food Bank for New York City. Of those that saw an increase, more than 90 percent said they saw an increase in new faces.

Meng and Ocasio-Cortez are working to assist the food assistance organizations that are experiencing a sudden loss of funding. They are also in contact with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which is responsible for administering the coronavirus food assistance grant program that La Jornada and other food pantries rely on.

“I am deeply concerned about impacts on their funding and we are looking into whether their contracts with vendors are ending, and whether they have been provided with information on how to renew them,” Meng said.

Ocasio-Cortez said she and Meng will do all they can to find a solution for La Jornada and others in the same situation, but added that the country should not be in situation that relies so heavily on non-profits to feed communities.

She said the House passed a bill that would help those hungry because of job loss and economic strain due to COVID-19, but the Republican-controlled Senate has refused to vote on the measures.

“The House has passed a bill that would provide financial and nutritional relief to those in our districts facing hunger and other economic challenges due to COVID-19,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “The Republican Senate’s refusal to allow a vote on these measures is appalling.”

Those in need of food assistance can call 311 and ask for “emergency food assistance” to get a list of food banks and resources.

Meng said she fought hard in Congress to ensure the grant program would support those facing food insecurity and be fully funded. The leaders have reached out to the USDA about the sudden withdrawal of funding.

“As the pandemic continues to force families to endure financial hardships, we must make sure that nobody goes hungry, and that all New Yorkers have access to food,” she said.

The line on May 15 along 46th Street in Sunnyside as people wait for food (Image by Michael Dorgan)

 

email the author: [email protected]
No comments yet

Leave a Comment
Reply to this Comment

All comments are subject to moderation before being posted.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Recent News

‘He didn’t deserve to die’: Borough President Richards leads emotional candlelight vigil for Tyre Nichols

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards held a candlelight vigil for Tyre Nichols outside Queens Borough Hall Monday, Jan. 30 after Nichols’ death at the hands of police officers in Memphis, Tenn., made national headlines for the brutality in which the officers beat him.

Almost immediately after news broke about Nichols’ death, the Memphis police officers who beat him to death were fired and charged with murder. The police department released the body cam footage of the fatal beating on Jan. 27, but many people, including some at the vigil, have refused to watch it due to its extremely graphic nature.

Op-Ed: This Year’s State Budget Must Prioritize Climate, Jobs, and Justice for New York

Op-Ed, Jan. 30, By Assemblymember Jessica González-Rojas

In a time of rampant economic inequality and environmental injustice, it is easy to feel defeated.  Here in Queens and across New York State, however, communities are organizing for a better future. New Yorkers from different backgrounds and with different lived experiences are proving that we can build community, organize, and create a future that reflects our shared values.

BP launches new advisory panel for youth to become civically engaged in the future of Queens

In an effort to get more young people involved in civics, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards has created a new advisory panel known as the Youth and Young Adult Council to introduce the “youngest and fiercest” community advocates to both community service and organization.

Members of the advisory body will advocate concerns through means of community engagement by participating in one of two cohorts. The first will be made up of high school representatives between the ages of 13 and 17, while the second cohort will be comprised of young adults between the ages of 18 and 25.

Raga sworn in as first-ever Filipino American elected to the state Legislature

More than 300 community members attended the historic inauguration of Assemblyman Steven Raga as the first Filipino American elected to office in New York state.

Many who attended the swearing-in event at the Queens Museum in Flushing Meadows Corona Park wore traditional and cultural attire to the event at the building that once housed the General Assembly of the newly formed United Nations from 1946 to 1950 until its current home in Manhattan became available for the world body.

These Queens eateries are participating in the upcoming NYC Restaurant Week

NYC Restaurant Week is underway, so nix that skillet and bring family and friends to your favorite neighborhood spot, or get inspired and break bread somewhere new and different. During this special citywide culinary event, food-lovers will enjoy curated menus and prix-fixe prices that are easy on the wallet.

Bookings began on Jan. 17 and are available until Feb. 12, and you can reserve a table at 30 participating Queens restaurants, along with hundreds more across the five boroughs.